President Joe Biden on Thursday ordered a US military air strike in eastern Syria against facilities that are backed by Iranian militia.
The airstrikes killed at least 17, local news sources said on Friday. The local government has yet to make a statement on the incident.
America’s Pentagon said the facilities were attacked in a calibrated response to rocket attacks against US targets in Iraq, reported Reuters.
Biden’s decision to strike only in Syria and not in Iraq, at least for now, also gives the Iraqi government time to complete its own investigation into an attack that wounded Americans.
“At President (Joe) Biden’s direction, US military forces earlier this evening conducted airstrikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said 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.
A US official said the aim of the attack was to punish the militias, but prevent the situation from spiraling into a bigger conflict. Biden reportedly chose one of the most limited responses.