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Middle East

Iran, Iraq, Syria Condemn US Strikes on Militia Targets

February 3, 2024
3 min read
Reports said that the US strikes late on February 2 hit seven locations – four in Syria and three in Iraq
Reports said that the US strikes late on February 2 hit seven locations – four in Syria and three in Iraq

The Iranian, Iraqi and Syrian governments have expressed anger over US airstrikes on dozens of Iranian-linked sites in Iraq and Syria in retaliation for the killing of American troops, amid concerns of escalating conflict in the Middle East.

US allies expressed support of the February 2 retaliatory strikes, with Britain condemning Iranian actions in the region as "destabilizing."

A statement from US Central Command said the arracks in Iraq and Syria targeted the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force and affiliated militia groups.

"US military forces struck more than 85 targets, with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from United States," it said.

The office of Iraqi Prime Minister Shia al-Sudani said that 16 people, including civilians, were killed and two dozen injured in the attacks.

A spokesman for al-Sudani condemned the US strikes as a "new aggression against Iraq's sovereignty," and warned that they will have “disastrous consequences for the security and stability of Iraq and the region.”

The Syrian Foreign Ministry said the US actions “served to fuel conflict in the Middle East in a very dangerous way." 

Syrian state media reported that there were casualties from the strikes but did not give a number. A UK-based war monitor, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said that 23 people were killed in the strikes, all rank-and-file fighters.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani called the US airstrikes “an adventurous act and another strategic mistake by the American government, which will have no result other than the escalation of tension and instability in the region.”

Hussein al-Mosawi, spokesperson for Harakat al-Nujaba, one of the main Iranian-backed militias in Iraq, told The Associated Press in Baghdad that Washington “must understand that every action elicits a reaction.” Al-Mosawi then struck a more conciliatory tone, saying that “we do not wish to escalate or widen regional tensions.”

The United States had warned of imminent action after a January 28 drone attack at a military outpost in Jordan killed three American soldiers. US officials  blamed Tehran and its supply of weapons to militia groups in the region.

“Our response began today,” President Joe Biden said in a statement released after the US retaliatory strikes in Iraq and Syria, adding: "It will continue at times and places of our choosing."

“The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond,” Biden added.

Reiterating London's "steadfast" alliance with Washington, a British government spokesperson condemned “Iran’s destabilizing activity throughout the region, including its political, financial, and military support to a number of militant groups."

The foreign minister of, another NATO ally, also condemned Tehran and the proxies it sponsors.

"Iran's proxies have played with fire for months and years," Radek Sikorski told reporters as he arrived for a meeting with his EU counterparts in Brussels, "and it's now burning them."

Russia called for an "urgent" meeting of the United Nations Security Council over "the threat to peace and safety created by US strikes on Syria and Iraq," Russia's UN Ambassador Dmitry Polyansky said on social media.

Russia, a permanent council member, has strengthen economic and military ties with Tehran since its unprovoked invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, with the Islamic Republic supplying hundreds of drones to Moscow for use on the battlefield.


Middle East

US Begins Retaliatory Strikes Against Iran’s Syrian and Iraqi Militias

February 3, 2024
2 min read
US Begins Retaliatory Strikes Against Iran’s Syrian and Iraqi Militias