December 11, 2023

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US Military Attacks Two Syrian Facilities It Says Linked to Iran

(Bloomberg) — US forces conducted strikes on two facilities in eastern Syria it believes were used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and affiliated groups, in response to attacks on American troops in the region.

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Defense Secretary said President Joe Biden ordered the “precision self-defense” strikes following attacks since Oct. 17 that resulted in the death of one US contractor and injured 21 American personnel. Austin warned Iran and its proxies not to threaten US forces.



“These narrowly tailored strikes in self-defense were intended solely to protect and defend US personnel in Iraq and Syria,” Austin said in a statement late Thursday. “If attacks by Iran’s proxies against US forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people.”

Austin stressed that he viewed the US strikes as “separate and distinct” from the Israel-Hamas war, but the development underscores how the conflict could quickly escalate into a broader conflagration. The US is continuing to send forces to the Mideast and Thursday’s attacks are believed to be the first offensive action by the US since Hamas’s Oct. 7 incursion into Israel.

The US earlier said it was deploying 900 troops to the Middle East as regional tensions rise. Brigadier General Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said the personnel include Thaad and Patriot air defense operators. None of the troops, who are already deployed or are being sent, are going to Israel, Ryder added.

The troop deployment comes on top of previous decisions by the Biden administration to send more forces to the region, including two aircraft carrier groups and additional fighter jets.

Tensions between the US and Iran have been climbing since the Hamas attack on Israel. Iran’s foreign minister this week warned that the US won’t escape unaffected if the Hamas-Israel war turns into a wider conflict.

Speaking at the United Nations, Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian said that Iran does not welcome an “expansion of the war in the region,” but the US would “not be spared from these fires” if the war in Gaza continues.

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