The new head of the White House became the fifth American president in a row to order strikes in the Middle East.
Joe Biden for the first time since taking office as President of the United States approved the decision to use force in the territory of another state.
The US armed forces launched several airstrikes in Syria against the targets of the pro-Iranian forces. It was in response to missile strikes against US forces and their allies in Iraq over the past two weeks.
Russia criticized Washington for the late warning of the strike and noted that вЂњthe United States is in Syria illegally.вЂќ
Biden faces difficulties with Iran and democrats
On February 25, the US Air Force launched airstrikes in Syria on militant positions, which, according to Washington, are supported by Iran.
As the Pentagon said in a statement, the strike destroyed a number of objects located at the crossing point of the Syrian-Iraqi border in the east of the country and used by groups of pro-Iranian militants, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhad.
The Syrian Human Rights Observatory reported that 17 pro-Iranian fighters were killed in a US airstrike. Experts at the London-based human rights organization receive data from a network of informers in Syria.
The airstrike was launched with the approval of US leader Joe Biden in response to recent attacks on US troops and their allies in Iraq.
Over the course of this month, US targets in Iraq have come under attack. An American soldier and five other contract employees were wounded as a result of rocket attacks on a coalition military base in Irbil.
US bases in Baghdad also came under rockets, including in the so-called вЂњgreen zoneвЂќ where the US embassy and diplomatic missions of other countries are located.
The Pentagon notes that the airstrike was a proportionate military response that came alongside diplomatic moves, including consultations with coalition partners.
The military operation, as noted, was aimed at preventing attacks on the US contingent in the future and was carried out without the participation of Washington's partners in the military coalition.
вЂњThis operation sends a clear message: President Biden will protect US and coalition troops. At the same time, we have acted with determination to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,вЂќ said spokesman John Kirby.
The strike was based on intelligence information from the Iraqi side, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said.
вЂњWe allowed the Iraqis to develop intelligence for us, encouraged them to do so, and it helped us a lot to clarify the goals,вЂќ Austin said on the agency's website.
The Secretary of Defense indicated that the Pentagon is confident in the chosen targets. According to him, they were used by the same Shiite militia that had previously attacked American military facilities.
Note that the United States launched its strikes at a time when Washington and Tehran are preparing for talks on the Iranian nuclear program, and these actions may complicate the already unstable process.
Last week, the US announced its readiness to begin negotiations with Iran and dropped the accusations of Tehran in disrupting the nuclear deal, which was put forward by the previous administration.
The US decision did not formally change anything but became a signal to search for compromises with Iran. Tehran welcomed Washington's move but felt that it was not enough. The US and Iran issue ultimatums in detail in the material.
As reminded by the AP agency, the current airstrikes are the first military operation of the administration of Joseph Biden, who, after taking office, spoke of his intention to pay more attention to problems related to China вЂ” even though threats persist in the Middle East.
They immediately drew criticism from Democratic lawmakers, notes CNN, since the destroyed facilities were not directly related to the missile attacks by the militants.
The sites destroyed on Thursday are believed to have been used by militants to smuggle weapons, a US official said. The strikes were carried out with the task of weakening the capabilities of the paramilitary groups to carry out attacks and signaling the inadmissibility of their repetition.
American strikes could spark division among lawmakers, who mostly support Biden's agenda. He will need this support in the future, writes CNN.
вЂњThus, President Biden became the fifth American president in a row to order strikes in the Middle East. There is absolutely no reason for the president to instruct military strikes if they are not carried out in self-defense, not against an imminent threat, and without the permission of Congress. We need to get out of the Middle East, not escalate, вЂњsaid Democratic Congressman Ro Hannah.
The president should not take such action without official permission, Hannah said.
Biden's actions drew criticism in Moscow as well. The United States warned the Russian military about an impending strike on Syria in four or five minutes, said Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He recalled that the United States is in Syria illegally, вЂњin violation of all norms of international law.вЂќ
вЂњOf course, even if we talk about deconflicting, as is customary in relations between Russian and American military personnel, nothing gives this kind of notification when a strike is already being struck,вЂќ Lavrov said.
The Russian minister also noted that the United States, according to some sources, is never going to leave Syria at all.
вЂњWe have recently heard different information from different sources until we can confirm it, we want to ask the Americans directly if they are making a decision never to leave Syria at all, even to the point of destroying this country,вЂќ he said.
Moscow intends to clarify this issue with Washington, Lavrov said.