US carries out airstrikes near Syria-Iraq border, kill 5 militia fighters
US strikes on eastern Syria near the border with Iraq killed at least five Iran-backed militia fighters, a war monitor reported on Monday.
The US military forces conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region, Pentagon said on Monday.
"At least 5 Iran-backed Iraqi militia fighters were killed and several others were wounded in an attack by US warplanes" on the Syrian side of the frontier, said the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
Syria's state-run SANA news agency said one child had been killed, and that at least three other people were wounded.
Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the militias were using the facilities to launch unmanned aerial vehicle attacks against US troops in Iraq.
Kirby said the US military targeted three operational and weapons storage facilities — two in Syria and one in Iraq.
He described the airstrikes as “defensive,” saying they were launched in response to an “ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting US interests in Iraq.”
“The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation — but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message,” Kirby said.
US interests in Iraq have come under repeated attack in recent months, with the United States consistently blaming Iran-linked Iraqi factions for rocket and other attacks against Iraqi installations housing its personnel.
In February, US strikes on facilities in east Syria used by Iran-backed militia groups left more than 20 fighters dead, according to the Observatory.
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.
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