The United States conducted three airstrikes overnight in eastern Syria near a crucial border crossing with Iraq, resulting in the elimination of six militants backed by Iran. These strikes took place in the border region of Boukamal, shortly after the Islamic Resistance, an umbrella group of Iran-backed Iraqi militants, claimed responsibility for an attack on a U.S. military base in the northern Iraqi city of Irbil.
Among the militants killed, four belonged to Lebanon’s influential Hezbollah group, while the remaining two were Syrian nationals. Two militants sustained injuries during the airstrikes. The targets of the strikes included two militant posts, a recently stocked weapons warehouse containing rocket launchers and munitions, a convoy of militants that had crossed from Iraq into Syria, and a location where a militia affiliated with Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard was conducting training.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a war monitor supported by Britain, a total of nine individuals were killed in the strikes, including three Syrians and six individuals of other nationalities. Washington has not yet provided an immediate comment on the airstrikes, although it had previously announced its intention to target positions held by Iran-backed militias in response to the recent surge in attacks over the past two months.
These airstrikes were carried out in response to President Joe Biden’s order last week for the US military to conduct strikes on Iranian-backed Iraqi groups following a rocket attack that injured three US troops. The heightened tension has placed Baghdad in a delicate position. Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani has been attempting to alleviate the strain between the militant groups that supported his rise to power and the United States, where Iraq’s foreign reserves are held.
The Boukamal region in Deir el-Zour, Syria, situated along the Iraqi border, holds immense strategic importance for Iran-backed militants since its recapture from the extremist Islamic State group in 2019. Preceding the recent surge in tensions, the US coalition forces have carried out precise strikes on convoys in this area. This occurrence signifies a notable intensification in the ongoing hostilities between the US and Iran-backed factions in the region.