SYRIA: The US military said early Wednesday that it conducted airstrikes in eastern Syria against militias backed by Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.
Syria’s state-run media did not immediately acknowledge the strikes on Deir Ez-Zor. Iran, too, has refused to acknowledge the attack.
The strikes, according to the US military’s Central Command, “took proportionate, deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimise the risk of casualties.”
It did not identify the targets or provide any casualty figures from the strikes, which the military said were carried out on President Joe Biden’s orders.
“Today’s strikes were necessary to protect and defend US personnel,” said Central Command spokesman Col. Joe Buccino.
According to the colonel, the attack was in response to an Aug. 15 attack on US forces. Iranian-backed militias allegedly launched drones to target the al-Tanf Garrison, which was used by American troops. At the time, US Central Command stated that the assault resulted in “zero casualties and no damage.”
Deir Ez-Zor is a strategic province with oil fields that borders Iraq.
The area is controlled by Iran-backed militia groups and Syrian forces, which Israeli warplanes in previous strikes have frequently targeted.
In 2015, US forces entered Syria to assist allied forces in their fight against the Islamic State group.
When the jihadist group Islamic State (IS) seized large swaths of territory in Syria and Iraq in 2014, it exploded onto the international scene.
It has become notorious for its atrocities, which include mass killings, kidnappings, and beheadings.
The group formally proclaimed the establishment of a “caliphate” in June 2014, which is a state run under Islamic law or Sharia and headed by God’s representative on Earth, or caliph.
It has demanded that Muslims move to areas under its control and swear allegiance to its leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
IS has also told other jihadist groups around the world that they must accept its supremacy. Many have already done so, including several offshoots of the rival al-Qaeda network.