NATIONAL NEWS

US Troops In Syria Attacked After Airstrikes On Militias

Jun 28, 2021, 3:14 PM | Updated: 3:17 pm
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk on the south lawn of White House on June 27, 202...
President Joe Biden and first lady Jill Biden walk on the south lawn of White House on June 27, 2021 in Washington, DC. The Bidens and staffers spent the weekend at Camp David. (Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON (AP) — U.S. troops in eastern Syria came under rocket attack Monday, with no reported casualties, one day after U.S. Air Force planes carried out airstrikes near the Iraq-Syria border against what the Pentagon said were facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups to support drone strikes inside Iraq.

Iraq’s military condemned the U.S. airstrikes, and the militia groups called for revenge against the United States.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the militias were using the facilities to launch unmanned aerial vehicle attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq. It was the second time the administration has taken military action in the region since Biden took over earlier this year.

There was no indication that Sunday’s attacks were meant as the start of a wider, sustained U.S. air campaign in the border region. But a spokesman for the U.S. military mission based in Baghdad, Col. Wayne Marotto, wrote on Twitter Monday that at 7:44 p.m. local time “U.S. forces in Syria were attacked by multiple rockets.” He said there were no injuries and that attack damage was being assessed.

Marotto later tweeted that while under rocket attack, U.S. forces in Syria responded in self-defense with artillery fire at the rocket-launching positions.

Kirby said the U.S. military targeted three operational and weapons storage facilities — two in Syria and one in Iraq. In its release of videos of the strikes by Air Force F-15 and F-16 aircraft, the Pentagon described one target as a coordination center for the shipment and transfer of advanced conventional weapons.

Kirby said the airstrikes were “defensive,” saying they were launched in response to the attacks by militias.

“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.

The Pentagon said the facilities were used by Iran-backed militia factions, including Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada.

A Pentagon spokeswoman, Navy Cmdr. Jessica McNulty, said Monday that each strike hit its intended target and that the U.S. military was still assessing the results of the operation.

“The targets selected were facilities utilized by the network of Iran-backed militia groups responsible for the series of recent attacks against facilities housing U.S. personnel in Iraq,” McNulty said. She said those groups have conducted at least five such “one-way” drone attacks since April.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken, speaking to reporters in Rome on Monday, said Biden has been clear that the U.S. will act to protect American personnel.

“This action in self-defense to do what’s necessary to do to prevent further attacks, I think sends a very important and strong message. And I hope very much that it is received,” he said. “I think we’ve demonstrated with the actions taken last night and actions taken previously, that the president is fully prepared to act and act appropriately and deliberately to protect us.“

Two Iraqi militia officials told The Associated Press in Baghdad that four militiamen were killed in the airstrikes near the border with Syria. Both spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to give statements. They said the first strike hit a weapons storage facility inside Syrian territory, where the militiamen were killed. The second strike hit the border strip.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based group that closely monitors the Syrian conflict through activists on the ground, reported that at least seven Iraqi militiamen were killed in the airstrikes.

The Iran-backed Iraqi militia factions vowed revenge for the attack and said in a joint statement they would continue to target U.S. forces. “We … will avenge the blood of our righteous martyrs against the perpetrators of this heinous crime and with God’s help we will make the enemy taste the bitterness of revenge,” they said.

The Popular Mobilization Forces, an Iraqi state-sanctioned umbrella of mostly Shiite militias — including those targeted by the U.S. strikes — said their men were on missions to prevent infiltration by the Islamic State group and denied the presence of weapons warehouses.

Iraq’s military condemned the strikes as a “blatant and unacceptable violation of Iraqi sovereignty and national security.” It called for avoiding escalation, but also rejected that Iraq be an “arena for settling accounts” — a reference to the U.S. and Iran. It represented rare condemnation by the Iraqi military of U.S. airstrikes.

In Iran, foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh accused the U.S. of creating instability in the region. “Definitely, what the U.S. is doing is disrupting the security of the region,” he said on Monday.

U.S. military officials have grown increasingly alarmed over drone strikes targeting U.S. military bases in Iraq, which became more common since a U.S.-directed drone killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani near the Baghdad airport last year. Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack. The strike drew the ire of mostly Shiite Iraqi lawmakers and prompted parliament to pass a nonbinding resolution to pressure the Iraqi government to oust foreign troops from the country.

Sunday’s strikes mark the second time the Biden administration launched airstrikes along the Iraq-Syria border region. In February, the U.S. launched airstrikes against facilities in Syria, near the Iraqi border, that it said were used by Iranian-backed militia groups.

The Pentagon said those strikes were retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq earlier that month that killed one civilian contractor and wounded a U.S. service member and other coalition troops.

At that time, Biden said Iran should view his decision to authorize U.S. airstrikes in Syria as a warning that it can expect consequences for its support of militia groups that threaten U.S. interests or personnel.

“You can’t act with impunity. Be careful,” Biden said when a reporter asked what message he had intended to send.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

National News

Soundgarden performs on stage for Guitar Hero game...
Mark Kennedy, Associated Press

Missy, Willie and George Michael among Rock Hall nominees

Missy Elliott, Willie Nelson, Kate Bush, Iron Maiden, Cyndi Lauper, Soundgarden, Sheryl Crow and the late George Michael are nominees for 2023 induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, a list that includes a mix of country, soul, hip-hop, metal, pop, rap-rock and grunge.
11 hours ago
Mourners sit next to a candle display during a vigil for Tyre Nichols at Regency Community Skatepar...
Aaron Morrison and Travis Loller, Associated Press

‘We’re all Tyre’: Family prepares to lay Nichols to rest

The family of Tyre Nichols plans to lay him to rest Wednesday, three weeks after he died following a brutal beating by Memphis police that was captured on disturbing video that prompted nationwide protests and renewed calls for police reform.
11 hours ago
Tom Brady #12 of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers celebrates after defeating the Kansas City Chiefs in Supe...
Associated Press

Tom Brady retires, insisting this time it’s for good

Tom Brady has announced his retirement. Brady won a record seven Super Bowls for New England and Tampa.
11 hours ago
FILE PHOTO (Deseret News)...
Rio Yamat, Associated Press

‘Dances With Wolves’ actor arrested in Nevada sex abuse case

Las Vegas police have arrested former actor Nathan Chasing Horse at his home after uncovering what they describe as two decades of sexual assault and human trafficking allegations.
1 day ago
A man accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman in southwest Oregon knew his victim before the at...
Lucy Kafanov, Elizabeth Wolfe and Jeremy Harlan

Man accused of severely beating, kidnapping Oregon woman knew his victim, police say

A man accused of kidnapping and torturing a woman in southwest Oregon knew his victim before the attack, police tell CNN, as the week-long search for the suspect continues.
1 day ago
Artic weather leads to canceled flights...
Lilit Marcus, CNN

More than 1,800 flights canceled Tuesday, hundreds more on Wednesday

More than 1,800 flights were canceled and many more were delayed on Tuesday as a brutal ice storm continued to hit parts of the South and central United States, bringing a second day of transport problems.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
Diverse Group of Energetic Professionals Team Meeting in Modern Office: Brainstorming IT Programmer...
Les Olson

Don’t Let a Ransomware Attack Get You Down | Protect Your Workplace Today with Cyber Insurance

Business owners and operators should be on guard to protect their workplace. Cyber insurance can protect you from online attacks.
US Troops In Syria Attacked After Airstrikes On Militias