The U.S. military carried out retaliatory airstrikes targeting installations of Iranian-backed terror groups based in Syria late last week in the wake of suicide drone strikes and missile attack against the U.S. that killed a U.S. contractor and injured another contractor and five U.S. service members.
U.S. intelligence has stated that this particular attack was carried out via the use of a “one-way unmanned aerial vehicle” that “struck a maintenance facility on a Coalition base near Hasakah in northeast Syria at approximately 1:38 p.m. local time.”
A statement from the Pentagon explained that these precision airstrikes were sent out to “limit the risk of escalation and minimize casualties.”
“This evening, we responded to an attack on our forces that killed an American contractor and wounded our troops and another American contractor by striking facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” added U.S. Central Command later on. “We will always take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing.”
“We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” the statement went on. “The thoughts and prayers of U.S. Central Command are with the Family of our contractor killed and with our wounded servicemembers and contractor.”
The release explained that the U.S. forces remained stationed in Syria in order “to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS, which benefits the security and stability of not only Syria, but the entire region.”
The incident from Syria takes place as U.S. and Foreign officials have become ever increasingly concerned about the state of the nuclear program in Iran. General Mark Milley, who sits as the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, explained to legislators as part of a meeting late last week at Capitol hill that Iran is “several more months” away from being able to make an “actual nuclear weapon.”
This scenario has sparked alarm bells for quite a few Israeli officials that, over the past few months, have become far more outspoken about the threats of a nuclear-capable Iran and the determination of Israel in acting to stop such an event from taking place. Israeli officials have reportedly issued warnings to both U.S. and European officials that Israel will carry out a strike against Iran if it becomes able to enrich uranium past the threshold of 60%. Uranium is normally labeled as weapons-grade once it has been fully enriched up to 90%.
While all of this was going on, Iran has been bolstered by both China and Russia. Russia is reportedly thinking about issuing a supply to Iran of S-400 missile systems, which is an anti-air missile system that has Israeli officials worried that Iran’s nuclear facilities would end up being far too strong of a target for airstrikes. China has also assisted Iran in building a number of diplomatic ties across the region, serving as the middleman for a recent agreement that was brokered between Saudi Arabia and Iran.