US Launches Airstrikes on Iranian-Linked Targets in Syria
The US military has carried out airstrikes on two locations in eastern Syria that are linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps. These strikes were in response to a series of drone and missile attacks against US bases and personnel in the region that have been occurring since October 17. The Biden administration aims to strike Iranian-backed groups suspected of targeting the US while also avoiding further escalation and provoking a wider conflict.
Retaliatory Strikes in Response to Attacks
The Pentagon has reported at least 12 attacks on US bases and personnel in Iraq and four in Syria since October 17. These attacks have resulted in injuries to 21 US personnel, with minor injuries sustained in the assaults on Al-Asad Airbase in Iraq and Al-Tanf Garrison in Syria. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated that these airstrikes were a response to ongoing attacks by Iranian-backed militia groups and emphasized that the US will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests.
US Maintains Right to Defend Its Forces
While the US does not seek a broader conflict, it will not hesitate to take additional action if Iranian proxy groups continue their attacks. The Pentagon has made it clear that it maintains the inherent right to defend its troops and will take all necessary measures to protect them and its interests overseas. The US retaliation is directly tied to the attacks on its troops and is not connected to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Proportional Response Aimed at Deterrence
US officials have stressed that the American response is proportional and aimed at deterring future strikes against US personnel. The strikes are designed to protect US forces who are focused on the fight against the Daesh group. This approach has been consistent in previous similar situations, such as when the US struck sites in Syria affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard after an Iranian-linked attack killed a US contractor.
No Public Connection to Gaza Violence
While the recent string of attacks in Syria and Iraq has not been publicly linked to the violence in Gaza, Iranian officials have openly criticized the US for providing weapons to Israel that have been used in strikes resulting in civilian deaths. The US has maintained that its response is solely in defense of its personnel and not connected to the conflict between Israel and Hamas.
Beefing Up Air Defenses in the Region
To protect US forces, the Pentagon has increased air defenses in the region. Several batteries of Patriot missile systems, a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery, and additional fighter jets are being sent. The THAAD system is being deployed from Fort Bliss, Texas, while the Patriot batteries are from Fort Liberty in North Carolina and Fort Sill in Oklahoma. An Avenger air defense system from Fort Liberty is also being sent. Approximately 900 troops associated with the air defense systems have been deployed or are in the process of going to the Middle East region.
Maintaining a Delicate Balance
The US airstrikes on Iranian-linked targets in Syria demonstrate the Biden administration’s determination to strike back against groups suspected of targeting US bases and personnel. However, the US also aims to avoid further escalation and provocation of a wider conflict. These retaliatory strikes are proportional and aimed at deterring future attacks while protecting US forces focused on fighting against the Daesh group. The US maintains that its response is solely in defense of its personnel and not connected to the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas. With increased air defenses in the region, the US is taking necessary measures to protect its forces and interests.