US Carries Out Airstrikes Against Iran-Backed Militia in Iraq and Syria
By: Prateek Sachdeva
The United States carried out airstrikes early on Monday morning in Iraq and Syria against two Iranian-backed militias that the Pentagon (headquarters for the US defence department) said had conducted drone strikes against American personnel in Iraq in recent weeks, The New York Times reported.
John Kirby, the press secretary for the Pentagon, stated that the militias were using the facilities to launch unmanned aerial vehicles against American troops in Iraq. This is the second time that the Biden administration has taken military action in Central Asia.
There have been at least five drone attacks against facilities used by the US and coalition personnel since April, US officials narrated to the media. Rockets have also been fired at them and supply convoys have been targeted by improvised explosive devices (IEDs).
There was no indication that Sunday’s attacks marked the beginning of a wider, sustained US air campaign in the border region. However, a spokesperson for the US military mission based in Baghdad, Colonel Wayne Marotto, tweeted that “US forces in Syria were attacked by multiple rockets.” He said there were no injuries and that attack damage was being assessed, reports Associated Press.
The Popular Mobilisation Forces, an Iraqi state-sanctioned umbrella of mostly Shi’ite militias — including those targeted by the US strikes — said their men were on missions to prevent infiltration by the Islamic State group and denied the presence of weapons warehouses.
Iraqi military spokesman Major General Yehia Rasool also condemned the strikes. He tweeted that they represented “A blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and Iraqi national security”. He also reiterated Iraq's “Rejection of becoming a field for settling scores” and called for “Calm and the avoidance of escalation in all forms”.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain based group that closely monitors the Syrian conflict through activists on the ground reported that at least seven Iraqi militiamen were killed in the airstrikes. Fears have been mounting that continuing militia attacks could trigger an escalation in violence between US forces and Iranian-backed groups that operate in the region, reports the Washington Post.
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