February 24, 2024

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What we know about US retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria

What we know about US retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria

On Friday, February 2, the United States launched retaliatory strikes targeting the al-Quds force, the foreign operations branch of Iran's Revolutionary Guards, and personnel from pro-Iranian groups in Iraq and Syria. Three American soldiers killed in Jordan have been repatriated to the United States, the US military's Middle East Command (CENTCOM) announced. The intervention lasted approximately thirty minutes “A Victory”The White House said.

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At least twenty-three pro-Iranian fighters, including five in Syria's Deir Ezzor, were killed in airstrikes in eastern Syria and western Iraq, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) said. In Iraq, 16 people, including civilians, were killed and 25 injured, according to an official statement issued by the Iraqi government.

Joe Biden vowed to respond to a deadly drone strike near the Syrian border on Sunday, January 28, which Washington attributed to Iranian-backed groups. “Our response began today. It will continue as scheduled and at locations we determine.”The president said on Friday. “America does not want conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let those who wish us harm know this well: If you touch an American, we will respond.He made the announcement in a press release, hours after seeing the bodies of three slain American soldiers recovered.

The US executive indicated that the retaliatory measures would be multiple and spread over time against different targets.

Eighty-five target sites

The White House assured the US “Iraqi Government Warned Before Strikes”.

Strikes “Includes over 125 precision munitions”Centcom said in its press release that it targeted 85 targets at seven different sites (three in Iraq and four in Syria), including command and intelligence centers, as well as storage infrastructure for drones and missiles owned by Iranian militants. and armies “Who Executed Attacks on US and Coalition Forces”, including Sunday. The Pentagon said Friday's strikes mobilized a large number of fighter jets, including long-range bombers.

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“The headquarters of the armed forces in Al-Qaim area was targeted, a small arms depot, according to initial reports”, an Iraqi Interior Ministry official told Agence France-Presse on condition of anonymity. An official from Hahad al-Saabi, the coalition of former paramilitary forces that unites these pro-Iran factions, confirmed the strike and another bombing targeting a site further south in the al-Aghazad region.

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Iran condemns “severely”; Syria condemns US “occupation”.

to l'Iran “Compulsory Condemnation” Strikes were held in protest “Syria and Iraq's Sovereignty Violation”According to a diplomatic spokesperson. “Last night's attack was an adventurous move and another strategic mistake by the Americans that will intensify tensions and instability in the region.”, Nasser Kanani responded in a press release. He did not say whether any Iranians were killed in the attacks and did not hint at possible retaliation.

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“The occupation of parts of Syrian territory by US forces can no longer continue”Condemned Syria after the strikes, confirmed it “Commitment to free the entire Syrian territory from terrorism and occupation”. For its part, the Iraqi government a “Violation of Iraqi Sovereignty”. These strikes create fears that “Devastating Consequences for the Security and Stability of Iraq and the Region”Iraq's prime minister's military spokesman said in a statement.

About 900 U.S. troops are stationed in Syria and 2,500 in Iraq as part of an international counter-jihadist coalition formed to fight the Islamic State group when Islamic State controlled swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq. The defeat of ISIS in Syria was announced in 2019 (and in Iraq in 2017), but the coalition remained in the country to fight jihadist cells, which continue to carry out attacks there.

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Iraq invites US officials to Baghdad

Iraq's Foreign Ministry announced in a statement on Saturday that it was summoning the US charge d'affaires in Baghdad, David Burger. “Official Letter of Protest Against US Aggression Targeting Iraqi Military and Civilian Bases”It states that the ambassador is not currently in Baghdad.

Intense political pressure in the US

On the tarmac of Dover Army Base (Delaware), the U.S. military took action on a day of tributes to three slain soldiers. The American flag-draped coffins of William Jerome Rivers, Kennedy Lawton Sanders and Brona Alexandria Moffett from the US state of Georgia were taken out one by one from a military transport plane.

However, John Kirby asserted that there was no correlation between the time chosen to carry out the strikes and the weather conditions and the ceremony of repatriation, depending on other factors. During the event, the 81-year-old president remained motionless, his hand on his heart and his gaze straight ahead, as bodies passed by. He was accompanied by his wife Jill Biden, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, Chief of Staff Charles Brown and other dignitaries. Away from the press, the families of three soldiers were also present. The ceremony, regulated to the millimetre, lasted about ten minutes in the cool air and silence, interrupted only by orders to the soldiers.

The Democrat, campaigning for a second term, faces intense pressure from his Republican opponents to respond strongly to Iran. Former President Donald Trump, the favorite for his party's nomination, has already attacked him “Weakness” Since the start of the war between Israel and Hamas, US forces have faced several attacks in the Middle East, from his Democratic opponent. However, Joe Biden reiterates that he does not want regional expansion or open conflict with Iran.

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Since mid-October, more than 165 drone strikes and rocket attacks have targeted U.S. forces stationed with the international anti-jihadist coalition in Iraq and Syria, but no U.S. service members were killed until Sunday's attack in Jordan.

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The world with AFP