The U.S. reportedly launched a military airstrike Thursday evening on a target in Syria said to be controlled by an Iran-backed militia group, Reuters reports.
“At President (Joe) Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby announced in a statement.
“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.
The strikes took out multiple facilities at a border control point used by a number of militia groups including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), according to Kirby.
An anonymous U.S. official told Reuters that the strikes were meant to send a message that the U.S. has no intention to back down to militia groups, but does not intend for conflict to spiral out of hand.
The number of, if any, casualties from the strike are still unclear.
Vice President Kamala Harris was reportedly not informed about the strikes beforehand, and was upset about being left out of the look, One America News Network's Jack Posobiec tweeted, per an unnamed U.S. official.
In April 2017, now White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki launched a Twitter critique at President Trump for conducting similar air strikes in Syria.
"Also what is the legal authority for strikes? Assad is a brutal dictator. But Syria is a sovereign country," she tweeted, questioning the legitimacy of Trump's military action on Syrian soil.
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