The first strike from the Biden administration ... America is bombing the sites of militant groups in Syria
On Thursday, US President Joe Biden gave directives to launch air strikes in eastern Syria against facilities belonging to Iranian-backed militant groups, the Pentagon said, in a controlled response to missile attacks on US targets in Iraq.
The strikes appeared to be limited in scope, which could reduce the risk of escalation.
Biden’s decision to limit the strike to targets in Syria other than Iraq, albeit for the time being at least, would give the Iraqi government an outlet while it conducts an investigation into an attack in which Americans were wounded on February 15.
"As per President Biden's directives, the US military forces carried out air strikes on the evening of air strikes targeting infrastructure used by Iranian-backed armed groups in eastern Syria," Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement on Thursday.
"President Biden will work to protect American soldiers and coalition forces," he added.
We also acted in a calculated manner aimed at not escalating the general situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.
He said that the strikes destroyed several facilities at a border control point used by Iranian-backed militant groups, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada.
There was no official comment from Syria on the strikes, but the official Al-Ekhbariya TV channel quoted its correspondent in Deir Al-Zour as saying, "The American bombing today is targeting areas on the Syrian-Iraqi border with air strikes."
A US official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said that the decision to launch these strikes was aimed at sending a signal that the United States wants to punish militant groups but does not want the situation to descend into a larger conflict.
He added that Biden was presented with several options and that he chose the least consequential.
For its part, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights counted the killing of 22 Iraqi factions loyal to Iran, most of them from Kataib Hezbollah.
A previous toll had reported the killing of 17 Iraqi militants.
According to the observatory, the American raids destroyed three trucks carrying ammunition south of the city of Albu Kamal in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor.
The director of the observatory, Rami Abdul-Rahman, said that the trucks were targeted the moment they entered Syria through an illegal crossing from Iraq at one o'clock in the morning.
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