President Biden yesterday directed airstrikes in Syria against buildings belonging to what officials claim are Iranian-backed militia, in their response to rocket attacks against American targets in Iraq.
The strikes appeared to be limited, possibly to lower the risk of an escalation.
President Biden’s move to strike Syria and not inside Iraq gives the Iraqi government some room to perform its own investigation of the attack that injured Americans.
“After President Biden’s order, military forces have conducted airstrikes against infrastructure used by Iranian-backed groups in Syria,” John Kirby, a Pentagon spokesman said in his statement.
“President Joe Biden will move to safeguard American and Allied personnel. At the same time, we have taken action to de-escalate the situation in both Iraq and Syria,” Kirby said.
He then said that strikes destroyed numerous facilities at a border crossing used by Iranian-backed militants, including Hezbollah and al-Shuhada.
An anonymous source has said the move was carried out to punish the militias and prevent the situation from spiraling into a larger conflict.
It was not evident how the strike might change Biden’s efforts to get Iran back to the negotiation table to workout a new nuclear deal.
The attack that led to the strike was on the U.S. base at Erbil Airport in the Kurdish-run area. This attack killed one non-American contractor and injured American contractors and one military member. With another base being struck in Baghdad days later, injuring another contractor.