DAMASCUS (Dispatches) -- The U.S. said Friday President Joe Biden had ordered military airstrikes against facilities belonging to anti-terror resistance groups on the Iraqi-Syrian border.
Pentagon press secretary John F. Kirby told reporters that Biden authorized the strikes on Thursday, allegedly destroying multiple facilities at a border control point used by Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters, including members of Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada groups.
Kirby claimed that the strikes were in response to recent attacks against American and allied personnel in Iraq.
A rocket attack on Feb. 15 on the airport in Erbil, in northern Iraq, allegedly killed a Filipino contractor with the U.S. military and wounded six others.
Another salvo hit a base hosting U.S. forces north of Baghdad days later. At least one contractor was hurt as a result. American officials said Thursday’s strikes were relatively small and carefully calibrated.
In the U.S. attack, however, seven 500-pound bombs were reportedly dropped on a cluster of buildings at the Syria-Iraq border.
A reliable source told Press TV on Friday that one fighter was killed and four others were injured in the attack.
A U.S. official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, claimed that the United States did not want to escalate the situation into a bigger conflict.
The official said Biden was presented with a range of options
and one of the most limited responses was allegedly chosen.
Over the week, numerous reports had emerged about unusual movements by U.S. troops near the border between Iraq and Syria.
A report on Monday said swarms of helicopter gunships and drones were flying over al-Anbar. Iraq’s al-Maloumah news agency cited an unnamed security source as saying that the unusual overflights above Al-Qa’im District extended as far as the border with Syria.
U.S. troops are based across the border in Al-Tanf in Syria, where militants fighting the Syrian government are reportedly trained and armed and used for operations in Iraq and elsewhere.
Over the years, there have been numerous reports about the infiltration of Daesh elements from Syria into Iraq under the protection and logistical assistance of U.S. troops.
Hashd al-Sha’abi and its affiliates, which have been integrated into Iraq’s regular forces, are deployed on the Syrian border and helping the army to stem the movement of terrorists between the two countries.
Suspicious attacks, supposedly against U.S. targets but often with little impact, have escalated over the past year, especially since the Iraqi parliament passed a law that mandated a full withdrawal of all foreign troops from the country.
Experts say the rise in terrorist activities is apparently aimed at creating a sense of insecurity in Iraq and providing a pretext for the U.S. to keep its troops in the country.
Since late 2019, the United States has carried out strikes against anti-terror Kata’ib Hezbollah resistance group in Iraq and Syria.
Syria’s official news agency SANA on Thursday reported that U.S. military forces plan to transport a new batch of imprisoned Daesh terrorists from the northeastern Syrian province of Hasakah to Al-Tanf.
Local sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, said U.S. military vehicles entered a prison at the southern flank of Hasakah, and left shortly with 10 jailed Daesh terrorists, among them commanders, on board.
The sources said military helicopters flew overhead as the vehicles headed to the U.S. base in Al-Shaddadi town.
In a meeting with Iraqi President Barham Salih in Baghdad earlier this month, Iranian Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi said the United States was relocating Daesh terrorists from their former bastions in Syria and Iraq under the guise of fighting terror.
"While Iraq, Syria, Iran and regional countries are working together to eliminate the remnants of Daesh, the Americans do nothing but relocate the Daesh terrorists in the region,” Raisi added.
Syria condemned the new U.S. airstrikes as a cowardly act and urged Biden not to follow "the law of the jungle”.
"Syria condemns in the strongest terms the U.S. cowardly attack on areas in Deir al-Zor near the Syrian-Iraqi border,” the Syrian foreign ministry said in a statement. "It (the U.S. administration) is supposed to stick to international legitimacy, not to the law of the jungle as (did) the previous administration.”
Russia also criticized the strikes. "What has happened is very dangerous and could lead to an escalation in the whole region,” a Russian parliamentarian, Vladimir Dzhabarov, was quoted as saying by RIA news agency.