U.S. Joint Chiefs Chair Army General Mark Milley speaks with U.S. forces in Syria during a visit at a US military base in Northeast Syria, March 4, 2023

US Joint Chiefs Chair Army General Mark Milley speaks with US forces in Syria during a visit at a US military base in Northeast Syria, March 4, 2023

As US Hits Iranian Proxies In Syria, Danger Of More Attacks Remain

Saturday, 03/25/2023

Tit-for-tat attacks have continued between the US military and Iranian-backed forces in Syria, who threaten more strikes as US vows to protect its personnel.

There were no statements by Iranian officials by midday Saturday in Tehran, while Tasnim news agency affiliated to the Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) carried the news of events in Syria without carrying any comments by Iranian officials.

The US conducted at least one major air strike early Friday after a suicide drone attack killed a US contractor and injured several servicemen at a US base in northeastern Syria.

Apparently, the US carried out more retaliatory strikes later on Friday following a second attack by Iran-controlled militias. It is not clear if these were air attacks or missile strikes. The US Central Command issued a statement saying that Friday morning at approximately 8:05 local time, “ten rockets targeted coalition forces…”

Meanwhile, these forces said in an online statement late Friday that they have a "long arm" to respond to further US strikes on their positions, after tit-for-tat strikes in Syria over the last 24 hours.

The statement, signed by the Iranian Advisory Committee in Syria, said US strikes had left several fighters dead and wounded, without specifying their nationality.

"We have the capability to respond if our centers and forces in Syria are targeted," the statement said.

According to a war monitor, at least 16 people were killed in the first US retaliatory attack, mostly local or non-Iranian personnel, while the identity of four casualties remain unknown.

President Joe Biden on Friday warned Iran that the United States would "act forcefully" to protect Americans, after the US carried out air strikes against Iran-backed forces.

"Make no mistake: the United States does not ... seek conflict with Iran but be prepared for us to act forcefully to protect our people," Biden told reporters during a visit to Canada.

Earlier, US officials had emphasized that the retaliatory strike was a measured response to the attack on the US base, but the follow-up attacks by Iranian-supported forces posed the question if more serious retaliation is needed to deter Iran.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham tweeted that “The Biden administration could learn something from the Trump Administration about deterrence…The targets the Iranians fear most are their refineries. For every attack against Americans in the future, take down an Iranian refinery and their oil and gas infrastructure.”

In fact, former President Donald Trump who ordered the killing of IRGC’s Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad in January 2020, had earlier refrained from retaliation against Iran when Saudi Arabia’s vital oil installations came under Iranian drone and missile attacks in September 2019.

Other critics argued that targeting Iran’s proxies is not a real deterrent, since the purpose of having these forces is exactly to offer “plausible deniability” by Tehran.

The main reason for Soleimani’s killing according to the Trump Administration was his efforts to organize more attacks on US troops in the region.

Congresswoman Joni Ernst tweeted, “Iranian proxies have attacked US servicemembers nearly 80 times. What has President Biden done about it? Cozied up to Iran in hopes of a fanciful and flawed “nuclear agreement,” & failed to hit Iran’s regime where it hurts, their wallets, by enforcing much-needed sanctions.”

News at a Glance
IITV News (12) - DC
News at a Glance

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