U.S. President Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Thursday authorized airstrikes against Iranian-backed militia in Syria, the Department of Defense said in a statement.
Pentagon Press Secretary John F. Kirby told reporters traveling with Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin that American forces struck at an Iranian-backed militia in Syria that launched rocket attacks against U.S. bases in Iraq.
“At President Joe Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces, earlier this evening, launched airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in Eastern Syria. These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against U.S. and coalition personnel in Iraq, and to on-going threats to those personnel,” Kirby said.
“There’s not much more that I’ll be able to add at this point other than the fact that we’re confident in the target we went after, we know what we hit,” the secretary of defense Lloyd Austin said. “We’re confident that the target was being used by the same Shia militia that conducted the strikes.”
According to the press secretary, the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups including Kait’ib Hezbollah and Kait’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada.
“We are very deliberative in our approach as you would expect us to be,” Austin continued. “We allowed and encouraged the Iraqis to investigate and develop intelligence for us, and that was very helpful to us in refining the target.”
“This proportionate military response was conducted along with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners. The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq, Kirby said.
“Let me say that I am very proud of the men and women in our force that carried out the strike. As you would expect, they performed in a very professional manner, and we are grateful for their service,” Austin said.