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Biden orders airstrikes against Iranian-backed groups in Syria following attacks near base holding US troops last week


By Michael Callahan and Devan Cole, CNN

President Joe Biden ordered airstrikes against Iranian-backed groups in Syria on Tuesday, a little over a week after a number of rockets struck near a military base in northeastern Syria housing US troops.

The airstrikes conducted by the US military targeted Iranian-backed groups in Deir ez-Zor Syria, US Central Command said in a statement. The strikes targeted “infrastructure facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Col. Joe Buccino, a spokesman for CENTCOM, said in the statement.

“At President Biden’s direction, US military forces conducted precision airstrikes in Deir ez-Zor Syria today. These precision strikes are intended to defend and protect US forces from attacks like the ones on August 15 against US personnel by Iran-backed groups,” he said, referring to last week’s attack on the Green Village base near the Iraqi border. That attack did not result in damage or injuries.

Biden, according to the statement, “gave the direction for these strikes pursuant to his Article II authority to protect and defend US personnel by disrupting or deterring attacks by Iran-backed groups.”

The base attacked earlier this month holds a “small number” of coalition forces, including US service members, one official previously said. Several of the rockets failed to launch and were recovered by forces from the US-led coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces. And earlier last week, multiple drones were repelled in an attack near the At-Tanf base in southern Syria.

At the time of last week’s strikes, the coalition did not say who was responsible for either of the attacks. However, Iranian-backed militias in the region have frequently targeted US troops in Syria and Iraq.

In January, the US military conducted strikes in Syria after indirect fire posed what a US-led coalition official called “an imminent threat” to troops near Green Village.

The US maintains approximately 900 troops in Syria, largely split between the At-Tanf base and the country’s eastern oil fields.

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CNN’s Oren Liebermann contributed to this report.

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