Iranian proxy militias have exchanged fire with U.S.-led coalition forces in eastern Syria, on Monday, after retaliatory U.S. airstrikes on the same militias in Iraq and Syria on Sunday night.
Following the U.S, airstrikes, the Iranian proxy forces had earlier vowed to retaliate.
“U.S. Forces in Syria were attacked by multiple rockets. There are no injuries and damage is being assessed,” Col. Wayne Moratto, a spokesman for the U.S.-led mission Operation Inherent Resolve in Syria, posted on Twitter.
“U.S. Forces in Syria, while under multiple rocket attack, acted in self-defense and conducted counter-battery artillery fire at rocket launching positions,” Moratto added. The rockets hit the area at 7:44 p.m. local time.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a U.K.-based watchdog of the Syrian Civil War, said Iranian-backed militias fired several shells at a U.S. base in eastern Syria’s Al-Omar oil field, also known as the “Green Village.”
Only damage and no casualties were caused. Some rockets did land within the immediate vicinity of U.S. troops.
Syrian state news agency SANA said, “missiles… targeted a military base of the U.S. occupation forces in the Al-Omar oil field.” SANA did not cite who was responsible.
Nevertheless, an unnamed defense official told CNN that the rockets were likely launched by Iranian-backed militias operating in the immediate area near Deir Ezzor in eastern Syria.
The US Had Hit Drone Manufacturing Facilities
The U.S. military said the airstrikes on Sunday targeted weapons storage and operational facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq. The strikes were in response to several drone attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. The drones are Iranian-manufactured and are more difficult for U.S. forces to detect and defend against.
CENTCOM released a video showing the airstrike against the drone facility.
White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said the White House had notified appropriate members of Congress ahead of the strikes and remains in contact with regional allies. But some members of Congress were reportedly upset by the White House’s decision to conduct the airstrikes and said that Congress should have the deciding authorization.
President Biden said at a news conference, “I directed last night’s airstrikes targeting sites used by the Iranian-backed militia groups responsible for recent attacks on US personnel in Iraq”. “And I have that authority under Article II, and even those up in the Hill who are reluctant to acknowledge that have acknowledged that’s the case.”
A Renegotiation of the Iran Nuclear Deal Is Getting Harder
On Monday President Biden met with Israel’s outgoing president, Reuven Rivlin, at the White House for a discussion that included Iran and U.S. efforts to re-enter the Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
In an interview with the New York Times last weekend, Secretary of State Anthony Blinken said that the decision point for the U.S. to walk away from further negotiations on restarting the nuclear deal is approaching, although he wouldn’t give an exact timeframe.
Once the Iranians reach weapons-grade enrichment, having them agree to return to previous levels would be moot.
“I can’t put a date on it, but it’s something that we are conscious of. Having said that, we are only going to reach an agreement with Iran if it makes good on its obligations under the JCPOA. And again, we’re just not there yet, so we’ll see,” Blinken said.
“We still have serious differences with Iran, with regard to returning to mutual compliance with the JCPOA. Our teams are going back for a seventh-round of indirect negotiations in the coming days,” Blinken added. “We’ll see if we can bridge the differences, but they’re real.”
Tehran has always spun that it has never desired to produce nuclear weapons. However, that myth has been already debunked.