The United States military launched airstrikes in Syria on Thursday, targeting facilities used by Iranian-backed militia groups, according to the Associated Press.
The Pentagon said the strikes near the Iraqi border was in retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier this month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops. This was the first military action taken by the Biden administration just 36 days after taking office, and in a region of great threat to U.S. forces.
“This proportionate military response was conducted together with diplomatic measures, including consultation with coalition partners,” said Pentagon chief spokesperson John Kirby.
“The operation sends an unambiguous message: President Biden will act to protect American and coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to deescalate the overall situation in eastern Syria and Iraq.”
Kirby also said the U.S. airstrikes “destroyed multiple facilities at a border control point used by a number of Iranian- backed militant groups.”
The initial rocket attack near the city of Irbil in Iraq on Feb. 15 was condemned by the Biden Administration. Kirby had said Tuesday that Iraqi officials are currently investigating attack.
“Right now, we’re not able to give you a certain attribution as to who was behind these attacks, what groups, and I’m not going to get into the tactical details of every bit of weaponry used here,” Kirby said. “Let’s let the investigations complete and conclude, and then when we have more to say, we will.”
No other details about the airstrike were made available by the Pentagon.