United States Conducts Second Major Airstrikes in Syria
Meanwhile, Houthis Claim They Shot Down a US MQ-9
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The United States has confirmed conducting a second round of major airstrikes in Syria since the Gaza war began. The Pentagon described the strikes as retaliation for a recent series of attacks by "Iran-linked" militias against US troops in the country's east.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that US fighter jets carried out a self-defense strike at a weapons storage facility in eastern Syria that was being used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. The strike was directed by President Joe Biden, according to Austin's statement. He referred to the precision self-defense strike as a response to attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by affiliates of the IRGC-Quds Force.
The Pentagon has reported that 46 US service members have been injured during the past month of attacks in Iraq and Syria, with most suffering from traumatic brain injuries.
In a separate development, Yemen's Houthi rebels claimed to have shot down a US MQ-9 Reaper drone over territorial waters off the Yemeni coast. According to a statement from the Houthi army, their air defenses successfully targeted the drone while it was conducting hostile monitoring and spying activities. The statement also alleged American military support for Israel as part of the context for the incident.
If confirmed, the downing of the drone could potentially draw the United States deeper into a broader regional conflict. The Pentagon has deployed aerial assets over Gaza, the Mediterranean, and Red Seas. Additionally, US warships have been involved in intercepting drone and missile attacks from the Houthis, with one successful intercept already reported in the early weeks of the Gaza war, which has now entered its second month.
The situation in the Middle East remains tense as the United States takes action in response to attacks against its personnel and seeks to protect its interests in the region. The airstrikes in Syria and the downing of the drone in Yemen highlight the complex dynamics at play, with potential implications for regional stability.
As the situation continues to unfold, it remains crucial for all parties involved to exercise restraint and pursue diplomatic channels to de-escalate tensions. The international community will closely monitor the developments and their impact on the broader geopolitical landscape.