The US has carried out airstrikes against two facilities linked to Iran in eastern Syria, following a series of attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria by the same groups. The Pentagon said the strikes were “narrowly tailored in self-defense” and aimed at disrupting the militias’ ability to launch future attacks. Iran denied any involvement in the attacks on US forces and condemned the US strikes as a violation of Syria’s sovereignty.
The US strikes come at a time of high tension in the Middle East, as Israel and Hamas are engaged in a deadly war that has killed thousands of people and displaced hundreds of thousands more in Gaza. The US has been trying to broker a ceasefire between the two sides, but has faced criticism from some allies and human rights groups for not doing enough to stop Israel’s bombardment of Gaza. The US has also been accused of blocking a UN Security Council resolution calling for an immediate end to the hostilities.
Some analysts fear that the US strikes in Syria could escalate the conflict and draw in other regional actors, such as Iran, Hezbollah, Turkey and Egypt. Iran is a major supporter of Hamas and has vowed to defend its interests in Syria, where it has deployed thousands of fighters and advisers to help President Bashar al-Assad’s regime.
The US strikes in Syria have also raised questions about the legal basis and strategic rationale for such actions. Some lawmakers and experts have argued that the strikes violate international law and the US Constitution, which requires congressional authorization for any use of military force.