The Pentagon announced on Friday that the US Air Force launched raids in eastern Syria targeting facilities belonging to Iranian-backed militias, and while Moscow condemned these strikes, the Iranian foreign minister called his Syrian counterpart.

And local sources and a medical source said on Friday that US military air strikes in eastern Syria have killed at least 17 people.

The Pentagon confirmed that the strikes targeted facilities belonging to a faction supported by Iran.

For its part, the official Syrian news channel said that American fighters bombed areas on the Syrian-Iraqi border, while sources reported to Al-Jazeera that the bombing targeted trucks heading from Iraq to Syria.

 US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said he was confident that the target in the raids was being used by an Iranian-backed militia, and added that that militia launched attacks on his country's forces and the coalition forces in Iraq.

 Iraqi cooperation

Austin indicated that Washington encouraged the Iraqis to investigate and provide them with intelligence information, and that this was very useful in determining the target, as he described it.

A Pentagon statement said that the raids were carried out at the direction of President Joe Biden, in response to recent attacks and ongoing threats against US forces and the coalition in Iraq.

The statement added that the raids destroyed a number of installations at a border checkpoint used by militias supported by Iran, including the "Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades" and "the Sayyid al-Shuhada Brigades."

Austin: We encouraged the Iraqis to investigate and provide us with intelligence information, and that was very helpful (European News Agency)

The Pentagon indicated that these strikes - which were carried out in coordination with partners in the international coalition - carry a message that President Biden will act to protect the US and coalition soldiers.

The Pentagon also stressed that it had acted in a measured manner aimed at calm in both eastern Syria and Iraq.

The positions of Assad's friends

For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif telephoned his Syrian counterpart on Friday, hours after the US air strikes.

"The two sides affirmed the necessity of the West's commitment to the UN Security Council resolutions on Syria," the government website "Dolat dot IRA" said.

In Moscow, the Russian Foreign Ministry strongly condemned the US strike in Syria, saying it was an unacceptable violation of international law, and a source in the Foreign Ministry demanded to know who was targeted in this strike.

The source added that Iran is in Syria to assist the legitimate government, and upon its official request, to fight with the regular army in the fight against "terrorists", he said.

Commenting on the attacks, China called on the parties concerned to avoid adding factors that were considered to make the situation more complicated.