President Joe Biden directed the U.S. military to conduct airstrikes in Syria in response to a drone attack earlier this month targeting a U.S. garrison in the Middle Eastern country. File Photo by Michael Reynolds/UPI | License Photo
Aug. 24 (UPI) — The U.S. military said it conducted retaliatory airstrikes in Syria targeting Iran-backed groups accused of attacking a U.S. base earlier this month.
U.S. Central Command Communication Director Col. Joe Buccino said the airstrikes, which were conducted early Wednesday local time, targeted infrastructure facilities in Deir ez Zor in eastern Syria that were used by groups affiliated with Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps.
“Today’s strikes were necessary to protect and defend U.S. personnel,” Buccino said in a statement, describing the airstrikes as “proportionate, deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimize the risk of casualties.”
Buccino did not specify the groups or type of infrastructure targeted but said the airstrikes were at the direction of President Joe Biden to protect U.S. personnel from attacks by Iran-back groups.
The airstrike follows three drones attempting to penetrate the al-Tanf Garrison near Syria’s border with Iraq on Aug. 15.
Officials said the attack was intercepted by Operation Inherent Resolve forces and was unsuccessful, resulting in zero casualties.
“Such attacks put the lives of innocent Syrian civilians at risk and undermine the significant efforts by our partner forces to maintain the lasting defeat of ISIS,” Maj. Gen. John Brennan, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force — Operation Inherent Resolve, said in a statement condemning the Aug. 15 attack.
“Coalition personnel retain the right to self-defense, and we will take appropriate measures to protect our forces.”
On Tuesday, Buccino reiterated that the United States will continue to take actions to protect and defend Americas.
“The United States does not seek conflict,” he said.
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