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US launches airstrike on weapons storage facility of Iran-backed militia in Syria in response to attacks on US personnel, 9 killed

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said, "US military forces conducted a self-defence strike on a facility in eastern Syria used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups. This strike was conducted by two US F-15s against a weapons storage facility."

According to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, US fighter planes executed airstrikes on a weapons storage facility in eastern Syria on 8 November that was connected to Iran in reaction to attacks against American personnel. Nine persons connected to organisations supported by Iran were killed in the assault, per the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor.

This is the second time in about two weeks that the US has struck a Syrian location that was reportedly connected to Iran. Washington accuses Tehran of supporting several armed organisations and holds it accountable for an increase in offensives against US soldiers in the Middle East.

While the Western power is working to prevent Iran and its allies from escalating the Israel-Hamas conflict into a regional war, the two countries could clash as a result of the continuing assaults and counterattacks.

Lloyd Austin released a statement which read, “US military forces conducted a self-defence strike on a facility in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups. This strike was conducted by two US F-15s against a weapons storage facility.”

He mentioned, “This precision self-defence strike is a response to a series of attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps)-Quds Force affiliates. The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests.’

The senior official added, “The United States is fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities. We urge against any escalation. U.S. personnel will continue to conduct counter-ISIS missions in Iraq and Syria.”

The strike is being accompanied “with very clear messaging through multiple channels,” based on a senior US military official and senior Iranian leaders are being told, “We want you to direct your proxies and militia groups to stop attacking us.”

The site in Deir Ezzor province had been monitored, stated a senior American military official, allowing the US to choose a moment to do the strike with “a minimal number of casualties” albeit the action might have still resulted in some. “We were tracking just a couple (people) max that we don’t have any confirmation of just prior to the strike.”

On 26 October, the US military also attacked two locations in Syria that it claimed were used by the IRGC and its allies, however, it concluded that no one was hurt. Washington said that the other two strikes, like the most recent one, were in retaliation for attacks on US soldiers, who had been the target of more than 40 rocket and drone assaults since 17 October.

The war between Israel and Hamas, which started on 7 October when the terrorist organisation unleashed a surprise cross-border incursion from Gaza that resulted in the deaths of more than 1,400 people, is connected to the spike in attacks against US forces.

There are 900 American troops in Syria and another 2,500 in Iraq as part of the campaign to stop the Islamic State organisation from rising again. The jihadists had previously controlled a sizable portion of both nations, but after a brutal and multi-year battle, local ground forces with the help of international airstrikes drove them out.

The Houthi rebels in Yemen who are backed by Iran claimed on 8 November that they had shot down an American drone in another episode connected to the Israel-Hamas conflict. “Our air defences were able to down an American MQ-9 while it was carrying out hostile surveillance and espionage activities in Yemeni territorial waters as part of American military support for Israel,” they disclosed in a press release.

Senior US officials have confirmed that one of the nation’s drones was shot down. Following the 7 October attack, the US promptly provided military support to Israel and increased US personnel in the area.

Houthis are part of the “axis of resistance” of outfits positioned against Israel and are hostile to Yemeni government forces. The US Navy intercepted missiles fired by the rebels last month and they have taken credit for numerous drone and missile attacks against Israel throughout its conflict with Hamas.

The United States assessed that one of the MQ-9 drones was shot down by the Huthis in 2019. A number of MQ-9 drones, which are capable of flying more than 1,100 miles (1,700 kilometres) at altitudes of up to 50,000 feet (15,000 meters) and be used for both surveillance and strikes have been lost or damaged in recent years.

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staffhttps://www.opindia.com
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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