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Syria: Biden orders air strike on militiamen

Status: 02/26/2021 11:39 a.m.

For the first time under the new President Biden, the United States carried out a military strike. Reliable figures on the victims in Syria are not yet available. The Pentagon called the attack a “proportionate response.”

US President Joe Biden has ordered an air strike against Iranian-backed militiamen in Syria. This preceded, among other things, rocket attacks on US forces in Iraq.

The Pentagon said it was in retaliation for a rocket attack in Iraq that killed a US company employee and injured a US soldier and allied forces. It is the first military attack under the new US administration.

Information about victims varies greatly

Reliable information on the number of victims is not yet available. The AP news agency quotes an official who belongs to an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia: He said that a militia officer was killed in the US air strike. There were also several injured.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on the other hand, speaks of at least 22 fighters killed. Most of them are said to have belonged to the Kataib Hezbollah, the Iraqi Hezbollah brigades. The death toll could rise, there are many seriously injured. The attack is said to have taken place at a time when three trucks carrying ammunition for militias fighting in Syria had passed the Iraqi-Syrian border.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), which is close to the opposition, is based in Great Britain and wants to document human rights violations in Syria. She describes herself as independent. The information from the Observatory cannot be independently verified.

“Unmistakable message”

“This proportionate military response was carried out together with diplomatic measures, including consultations with coalition partners,” said Pentagon spokesman John Kirby when announcing the air strike. The mission sends an unmistakable message: President Biden will act to protect the lives of American employees and employees of the military coalition.

At the same time, however, the approach is also aimed at de-escalating the overall situation in eastern Syria and Iraq, said Kirby. The target of the US air strike were facilities in the eastern Syrian town of Bukamal near the border with Iraq, around 120 kilometers southeast of Deir az-Zor.

Multiple missile strikes on US targets in Iraq

On Monday, according to the Iraqi army, at least two rockets hit the center of Baghdad within the extensive fence around the US embassy. The previous Saturday, rockets hit Balad Air Force Base, injuring employees of a US company.

On February 15, an employee of the US-led military coalition was killed in an attack at Erbil International Airport. Eight civilian employees and one US soldier were injured. Kirby said the investigation into who exactly perpetrated the attack is still ongoing. A Shiite militia called the Guardian of the Blood Brigade had claimed responsibility for the attack.

Biden orders air strikes against pro-Iranian militias in Syria

Julia Kastein, ARD Washington, February 26, 2021 7:46 am

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