Biden administration chooses to strike Syria first

The United States launched an airstrike in Syria on a building, which is believed to be associated with the pro-Iranian militia that support Damascus, Politico reports with reference to a representative of the US Department of Defense. It was also said that it was President Joe Biden, who ordered to launch the missile strike.

The strike was defensive in nature and came in response to three attacks on the US military in February. The purpose of the military operation is to prevent future attacks on the US contingent. It was carried out without the participation of Washington's partners in the military coalition.

Dmitry Peskov, Kremlin's official spokesman, said that Russia was watching the development in Syria. He declined to comment whether the US warned Russia of the imminent airstrike.

According to Bloomberg that refers to Pentagon spokesman John Kirby, the US-led missile attack targeted facilities at a border checkpoint in eastern Syria. They were used by several militant groups at a time.

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

According to him, the airstrike targeted facilities of pro-Iranian groups "Kataib Hezbollah" and "Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada." It was also said that the military response came along with diplomatic measures, including consultations with coalition partners.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin confirmed the airstrike.

"I'm confident in the target that we went after, we know what we hit," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said. "We're confident that that target was being used by the same Shia militants that conducted the strikes," he said referring to a rocket attack in northern Iraq on February 15 that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a US service member and other coalition personnel.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that 17 pro-Iranian militia fighters were killed in the US airstrike. Experts at the London-based human rights organization receive data from a network of informers in Syria, and their claims may not always be officially confirmed, DW reports.

The most recent missile attack in Syria became the first military operation that was approved by the Joseph Biden administration. However, soon after taking office, Biden pledged to pay more attention to problems related to China, despite existing threats in the Middle East.

In February, militants conducted a number of attacks on targets used by US military personnel. On 15 February, attacks took place near Erbil International Airport in Iraq, when five Americans, including a soldier were wounded and another person was killed.

US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken condemned the attack and appealed to the Prime Minister of the Kurdish Autonomous Region of Iraq (Iraqi Kurdistan), Masrour Barzani, promising him Washington's support in investigating the incident and bringing those behind the attack to justice.

  • On February 20, four missiles struck Balad Air Force Base, which houses personnel servicing  American fighter aircraft.
  • On Monday, February 22nd, two missiles fell outside the US Embassy in Baghdad. According to Al Arabiya TV channel, at least three missiles were fired at the so-called green zone of the Iraqi capital, where state institutions and foreign diplomatic missions are located. Two missiles fell inside the zone, the third exploded outside. No casualties were reported.