February 24, 2024

By Bassem Mroue | Related Press

BEIRUT — The U.S. navy has launched strikes on dozens of web sites manned by Iran-backed fighters in western Iraq and japanese Syria in retaliation for a drone strike in Jordan in late January that killed three U.S. service members and wounded dozens.

Tensions had been rising for the reason that Israel-Hamas conflict began on Oct. 7 and per week later Iran-backed fighters, who’re loosely allied with Hamas, started finishing up drone and rocket assaults on bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria. A lethal strike on the desert outpost often known as Tower 22 in Jordan close to the Syrian border additional elevated tensions.

The U.S. retaliation Friday had been anticipated for the reason that Jan. 28 assault in Jordan.

The 85 targets struck in seven areas are in a strategic area the place 1000’s of Iran-backed fighters are deployed to assist develop Iran’s affect from Tehran to the Mediterranean coast.

U.S. bases in Syria’s japanese province of Deir el-Zour and the northeastern province of Hassakeh have come underneath assault for years. The Euphrates River cuts by Syria into Iraq, with U.S. troops and American-backed Kurdish-led fighters on the east financial institution and Iran-backed fighters and Syrian authorities forces to the west.

Bases for U.S. troops in Iraq have come underneath assault too.

Iran-backed militias management the Iraqi facet of the border and transfer freely out and in of Syria, the place they man posts with their allies from Lebanon’s highly effective Hezbollah and different Shiite armed teams.

The U.S. navy stated Friday that its large barrage of strikes hit command and management headquarters; intelligence facilities; rockets and missiles, drone and ammunition storage websites; and different amenities linked to the militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Drive, which handles Tehran’s relationship with, and arming of, regional militias.

Syrian opposition activists stated the strikes hit the Imam Ali base close to the border Syrian city of Boukamal, the Ein Ali base in Quriya, simply south of the strategic city of Mayadeen, and a radar middle on a mountain close to the provincial capital that can also be referred to as Deir el-Zour.

Rami Abdurrahman, who heads the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, stated 29 rank-and-file fighters had been killed in these strikes.

The assaults additionally hit a border crossing often known as Humaydiya, the place militia cross forwards and backwards between Iraq and Syria, in line with Omar Abu Layla, a Europe-based activist who heads the Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet. He stated the strikes additionally hit an space contained in the city of Mayadeen often known as “the safety quarter.”

Iraqi authorities spokesperson Bassim al-Awadi stated the border strikes killed 16 folks and brought about “vital injury” to properties and personal properties.

The In style Mobilization Drive, a coalition of Iran-backed militia that’s nominally underneath the management of the Iraqi navy, stated the strikes in western Iraq hit a logistical assist put up, a tanks battalion, an artillery put up and a hospital. The PMF stated 16 folks had been killed and 36 wounded, and that authorities had been trying to find different lacking folks.

Iran and teams it backs within the area purpose to place stress on Washington to drive Israel to finish its crushing offensive in Gaza, however don’t seem to need all-out conflict. The defeat of Hamas can be a significant setback for Tehran, which considers itself and its allies the primary defenders of the Palestinian trigger.