Syria said U.S. air strikes against Iranian-backed militias in the east of the country yesterday were a cowardly act and urged President Joe Biden not to follow “the law of the jungle”.
An Iraqi militia official close to Iran said the strikes killed one fighter and wounded four. U.S. officials said they were limited in scope to show Biden’s administration will act firmly while trying to avoid a big regional escalation.
Washington and Tehran are seeking maximum leverage in attempts to save Iran’s nuclear deal reached with world powers in 2015 but abandoned in 2018 by then-President Donald Trump, after which regional tensions soared and fears of full-scale conflict grew.
“Syria condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly U.S. attack on areas in Deir al-Zor near the Syrian-Iraqi border,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“It (the Biden administration) is supposed to stick to international legitimacy, not to the law of the jungle as (did) the previous administration.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh condemned the U.S. strikes, calling them “illegal aggression” and a violation of human rights and international law.
“You can’t act with impunity. Be careful,” Biden told reporters in Texas when asked what message he was sending Iran with the strikes.
The air strikes, early on Friday local time, targeted militia sites on the Syrian side of the Iraqi-Syrian frontier, where groups backed by Iran control an important crossing for weapons, personnel and goods.
Western officials and some Iraqi officials accuse Iranian-backed groups of involvement in deadly rocket attacks on U.S. sites and personnel in Iraq over the last month.