U.S. defends strikes in Iraq, Syria as ‘necessary’

Video Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on June 28, 2021 - Duration: 02:19s

U.S. defends strikes in Iraq, Syria as ‘necessary’

The United States on Monday strongly defended weekend strikes against Iran-aligned militias but the fighters vowed revenge and both Iraq and Syria condemned the unilateral U.S. air strikes as violations of their sovereignty.

This report produced by Jillian Kitchener.

U.S. defends strikes in Iraq, Syria as ‘necessary’

The United States is defending air strikes it carried out in Syria and Iraq over the weekend - against militias aligned with Iran - that both the Syrian and Iraqi governments are calling a violation of their sovereignty... and the militias are vowing revenge.

The U.S. military said it targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in response to drone attacks by the group against U.S. personnel and facilities.

U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke to reporters in Rome on Monday.

"We took necessary, appropriate, deliberate action that is designed to limit the risk of escalation, but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message." Iraqi militia groups aligned with Iran named four members of the Kataib Sayyed al-Shuhada faction they said were killed in the attack on the Syria-Iraq border, and vowed to retaliate.

Iraq's government condemned the strikes against Iran-aligned fighters and said it would "study all legal options" to prevent such action being repeated.

Iran called on the U.S. to avoid "creating crisis" in the region.

It was the second time this year President Joe Biden had ordered retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed militia.

Two anonymous U.S. officials told Reuters Iran-backed militias carried out at least five drone attacks against facilities used by the United States and coalition personnel in Iraq since April.

The strikes come at a sensitive time between Washington and Tehran.

Biden's administration has been looking to potentially revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.

White House Press Secretary, Jen Psaki: "Certainly we want to look to build the Iran deal beyond what it was in the past.

We've been very clear about that.

And that's part of the discussions and negotiations and the next step would be the seventh round of discussions and negotiations.

But I would say that as it relates to responding to attacks on our men and women serving or threats, I should say, to our facilities that are in the region - that we don't see that on the same exact track." Biden’s critics say Iran cannot be trusted, and point to the drone attacks as further evidence that Iran - and its proxies - will never accept a U.S. military presence in Iraq or Syria.

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