U.S. carries out airstrikes on targets at Syria-Iraq border, prompting Iranian militia to strike back

The U.S. military last Sunday conducted airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia groups near the Iraq-Syria border. 

he airstrikes themselves were a response to militia groups using unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) or essentially drones to attack U.S. forces in Iraq. President Joe Biden carried the order for the airstrikes marking the second military operation under the Biden presidency since he took office. The “Defensive Precision Airstrikes,” as the operation is being called, were set to strike operational and weapons facilities where the UAV were located.

The Defense Department, in a statement following the operation, stated, “The U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries,” the department stated, adding that several terrorist groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada, use the facilities” (The Epoch Times).

The Defense Department neglected to mention whether anyone was killed or injured during the operation. While the airstrike sent a clear message to Iran that President Biden will act to protect U.S. personnel, it did not take long to get a response back. The very next day after the airstrikes, U.S. troops in eastern Syria were met with rockets. Initially, it was not confirmed who had fired the rockets until Pro-Iranian militia groups took credit for the attack.

As the Jerusalem Post reports, “pro-Iranian groups had shelled areas in eastern Syria across from Deir Ezzor, ostensibly targeting U.S. forces near the Omar oil fields. This is an important and strategic area, and U.S. forces who support the Syrian Democratic Forces, have been reported to have a facility or base in this area” (The Jerusalem Post).

The rockets were described as the very same ones Hamas used to fire against Israel from the Gaza Strip. This may have complicated the revival of the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal, which was a priority for President Biden since taking office. The Iranian nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) created during the Obama administration, limited the nuclear programs in exchange for the U.S. lifting economic sanctions on Iran.

The Trump administration was quick to abandon the deal in July of 2018, stating, “The so-called Iran deal was supposed to protect the United States and our allies from the lunacy of an Iranian nuclear bomb, a weapon that will only endanger the survival of the Iranian regime” he continued, “In fact, the deal allowed Iran to continue enriching uranium and over time reach the brink of a nuclear blackout” (The Sun). The Biden administration, on the other hand, made it a foreign policy priority to sign the U.S. back on to the deal.



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