For the first time as US president, Joe Biden ordered a series of US military strikes in Syria on Thursday February 25, against sites used by two Iranian-backed militia groups in response to rocket attacks on American forces in the region in the past two weeks.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said that the strikes took place "at President Biden's direction" and were authorized not just to respond to recent attacks against American and coalition forces, but to deal with "ongoing threats to those personnel."
Kirby said that Biden conducted the strikes after consulting with US allies, including coalition partners.
"Specifically the strikes destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian backed militant groups including Kait'ib Hezbollah and Kait'ib Sayyid al Shuhada," Kirbry said
"The operation sends an unambiguous message; President Biden will act to protect American coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to deescalate the overall situation in both Eastern Syria and Iraq."
The site is believed to be used as part of a weapons smuggling operation by the militias.
The decision to target the site in Syria was made from the "top down," a defense official said, and was not because of a specific recommendation from the military.
The strikes come as US and Iran position themselves for negotiations about Iran's nuclear program, an already complicated fragile situation.