The United States took necessary and appropriate action when it launched airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, sending a strong and important message, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Monday.
“We took necessary, appropriate, deliberate action that is designed to limit the risk of escalation, but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message,” Blinken told reporters in Rome.
The strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, the Pentagon said.
“As demonstrated by this evening’s strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect US personnel,” the Pentagon said in a statement.
The strikes came even as Biden’s administration is looking to potentially revive a 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. The strikes appear to show Biden’s efforts to compartmentalize defensive strikes to protect American personnel, while simultaneously engaging Tehran in diplomacy.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights had reported that “at least five” Iraqi fighters were killed and several wounded in strikes on the Syrian side of the frontier.
The war monitor, which relies on a network of sources inside Syria to collect information, said that military positions were among the targets hit.
Since the start of the year there have been more than 40 attacks against US interests in Iraq, where 2,500 American troops are deployed as part of an international coalition to fight the extremist ISIS.