U.S. Strikes Iranian-backed Militias in Syria; Sources Say at Least 17 Killed

The United States on Thursday carried out an airstrike in Syria against a structure belonging to what it said were Iran-backed Iraqi militias, at the orders of President Joe Biden, which a militia official said killed one of its members and wounded several others.

A statement from Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby confirmed the strike in Eastern Syria "destroyed multiple facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iranian-backed militant groups," naming Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS).

Asked on Friday what message he was trying to send to Iran with the air strike, Biden said: "You can't act with impunity." He paused, then added, "Be careful."

The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said 17 people were killed in the strike, all Iraqi nationals. Local sources and one medical source also told Reuters at least 17 died.

According to the observatory, the strike targeted a weapons shipment from Iraq to the armed forces in Syria.

Syrian state television reported on Friday that a U.S. attack at dawn targeted several areas in Eastern Syria on the Syrian-Iraqi border,  citing its reporter in Deir al-Zor. There was no official comment yet from Syria on the air strikes.

The Iraqi militia official told the Associated Press that the strikes against the Kataeb Hezbollah militia, or Hezbollah Brigades, hit an area along the border between the Syrian site of Boukamal facing Qaim on the Iraqi side. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak of the attack.