The US military struck facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran-backed armed groups Thursday, saying President Joe Biden’s new administration was sending Tehran a message after recent rocket attacks on US troop locations in Iraq.
In its first military action against Iran-linked groups since Biden became president five weeks ago, the US Defense Department said it had carried out airstrikes at a Syria-Iraq border control point used by those groups, destroying “multiple facilities.”
“At President Biden’s direction, US military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” said spokesman John Kirby in a statement.
“These strikes were authorized in response to recent attacks against American and Coalition personnel in Iraq, and to ongoing threats to those personnel,” he said.
Kirby did not say whether there were any casualties in Thursday’s attack.
But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that 17 people were killed after the strike hit three trucks loaded with munitions coming from Iraq near the Syrian city of Bukamal.
The group said all the dead were from Iraq’s state-sponsored Hashed al-Shaabi force, the umbrella group over many small militias that have ties to Iran.