American airstrikes killed a total of 19 fighters in eastern Syria this week, a UK-based war monitor said Saturday, in the wake of an Iranian drone attack that left a US contractor dead and wounded five American troops.
The retaliatory strikes, conducted Thursday on targets that the Pentagon said were affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, killed three Syrian troops, 11 pro-government militia members, and five non-Syrian fighters, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
The “precision airstrikes” by American F-15 fighter jets sparked a tit-for-tat response by Iran-backed militants Friday, who fired 10 missiles that narrowly missed a US base in northeast Syria — but hit a civilian house, injuring two women and two children, according to US Central Command.
The two-day exchange was one of the deadliest between American and Iran-aligned forces in years. Iranian proxies have carried out at least 78 drone or rocket attacks against US troops in the Middle East since the beginning of 2021, when President Joe Biden took office.
“The United States does not — does not, I emphasize — seek conflict with Iran,” Biden said Friday during a press conference in Ottawa as he made a state visit to Canada. “But be prepared for us to act forcefully to protect our people.”
But Republicans slammed Biden’s response to Iran-backed aggression as weak.
“The Biden admin’s continued doctrine of appeasement has cost American lives and emboldened our adversaries,” Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst argued in a tweet.
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