Above Photo: Air National Guard / Twitter.
The US Central Command claimed that the airstrikes targeted “Iran backed groups” that were allegedly involved in last week’s drone attack on its al-Tanf base in the region.
The US armed forces carried out air raids in Syria’s Deir ez Zor province on Tuesday, August 23, allegedly targeting forces allied with Iran and the Syrian government of Bashar al-Assad, as per a statement issued by the US Central Command. The exact location of the airstrikes and number of casualties, if any, are yet not confirmed.
The statement claimed that “precision strikes” inside Syria were carried to “defend and protect U.S. forces from attacks like the ones on August 15.” It said that the strike targeted “Iran backed groups” and were carried out under the direction of US President Joe Biden.
On August 15, at least three drones targeting the US’ al-Tanf base in Syria’s Homs province were intercepted and destroyed, as per claims by the US forces.
The US has carried out several air strikes inside Syria since Biden came to power last year, causing the deaths of innocent civilians as well as destruction of civilian infrastructure.
The US claims that most of its airstrikes are “defensive” in nature, in order to protect its forces in northeastern Syria and its allies. Even in Tuesday’s statement, the Pentagon claimed that the US “does not seek conflict” and reiterated that its forces “remain in Syria to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS.”
However, this is despite the fact that the US had claimed back in 2017 that ISIS was defeated in Syria, and in 2019 that all areas in the country under ISIS control were liberated.
Syria objects to US military presence on its territory and considers the US base in al-Tanf illegal. The government has accused the US forces of using its presence to prolong the war in the country and steal its natural resources.
Earlier this month, Syria’s Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources claimed that the US occupation forces have looted more than a billion dollars worth of Syrian oil. Video footage released on Syrian media showed around a hundred trucks moving towards the country’s borders with Iraq, apparently filled with oil extracted under US security cover from Deir ez-Zor province.
Syria has also accused the US of aiding the anti-Assad forces – Maghawir al-Thawra – and thereby prolonging the war in the country.
The US military base at al-Tanf has been repeatedly attacked due to strong opposition to US military presence. According to Rudaw, the base has been targeted with drones at least five times already this year.
Syrian Foreign and Expatriates Minister Fayssal Mikdad, in a press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Moscow on Tuesday, demanded the immediate withdrawal of US forces from Syria, saying that “the US state is the side which supports terrorism in Syria, destroys its infrastructure and economy and continue to plunder its resources and impose coercive economic measures in flagrant violation of the UN charter.”