USA attacks ‘Iranian-backed military infrastructure’ in Syria

26 Février, 2021, 13:45 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
  • John Kirby

A USA airstrike in Syria targeted facilities belonging to a powerful Iranian-backed Iraqi armed group, killing one of their militiamen and wounding a number of others, an Iraqi militia official said Friday.

Reporting on the breaking news, CNN's Erin Burnett noted that the airstrike was in response to "three separate rocket attacks in the past couple of weeks against American forces in Baghdad, in which a civilian contractor was killed, an American serviceman, along with eight other contractors [who] were wounded in another one of those attacks". Specifically 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.

"The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel", Kirby said.

"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", he added.

The officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity, said the strike was approved by President Joe Biden.

It was not immediately clear what damage was caused and if there were any casualties from the strike.

The two leaders "discussed the recent rocket attacks against Iraqi and coalition personnel and agreed that those responsible for such attacks must be held fully to account", the White House said Wednesday in a statement.

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The U.S. launched the strike one day after Biden spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi.

"We said a number of times that we will respond on our timeline", Austin said.

The attack was the third in a week to target Western diplomatic, military or commercial installations in Iraq after months of relative calm.

It was not clear how, or whether, the strike might affect USA efforts to coax Iran back into a negotiation about both sides resuming compliance with the agreement.

On February 15, rockets hit the US military base at Erbil International Airport killing one non-American contractor and injuring a number of American contractors and a USA service member. A week later, a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone appeared to target the U.S. Embassy compound, but no one was hurt.

The attacks are usually claimed by shadowy groups that both Iraqi and United States officials say are "smokescreens" for hardline pro-Iran factions inside Iraq.

Some Western and Iraqi officials say the attacks, often claimed by little-known groups, are being carried out by militants with links to Kata'ib Hezbollah as a way for Iranian allies to harass US forces without being held accountable. First, trying to deter the Iranian backed Shi'a militias from attacking U.S. Coalition forces and a response to the previous attacks over the course of the past week-and-a-half or so.

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