Russia, ally of Syria, fumes at US airstrike against militia group

Pablo Tucker
February 27, 2021

"I condemn meddling in Syria's civil war".

"These are the same questions we must ask regardless of the administration".

Article II appoints the president as the commander in chief of the USA military, while Article 51 states: "Nothing in the present Charter shall impair the inherent right of individual or collective self-defense if an armed attack occurs against a Member of the United Nations, until the Security Council has taken measures necessary to maintain global peace and security". The site was used by Iraqi Hezbollah militias near al-Hurri village right on the Syrian-Iraqi borders inside Syria, a resident in Albu Kamal city told CNN under the condition of anonymity for security reasons. The British-based war monitor has regularly been accused by Syrian war analysts of inflating casualty numbers, as well as inventing them wholesale. The operation involved two F-15E Strike Eagle fighter jets that dropped seven precision-guided munitions on 11 facilities in the compound, nine of which were totally destroyed and two that were functionally destroyed, he said.

It was the first United States military action targeting such groups since Biden took office five weeks ago and came just as Washington had opened the door to resuming negotiations with Tehran over its nuclear program.

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby speaks during a media briefing at the Pentagon, in Washington, Feb. 17, 2021. "Iran supports an entire constellation of terrorist groups that stretches from Yemen to Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon, right to the borders of Israel".


"We're confident that these were legitimate targets that were utilized by groups associated with these recent attacks - structures, housing, capabilities that they utilized to help perpetrate attacks on our troops and on our coalition partners in Iraq", he told reporters Friday.

Iraq's defense ministry denied the U.S. had coordinated with it to conduct the strike, saying it only works together with the US-led coalition in the fight against the Islamic State group.

"So we had both to respond to those attacks but also to an ongoing threat that was very clear", he said.

Kirby also responded to criticism by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who said Moscow was notified just four or five minutes before the U.S. struck the targets.

"We did what we believe was the proper amount of notification for this", he said. "But if the Iranians go up the escalatory ladder, we have no choice but to do the same in order to protect our forces and our partners".


The Pentagon on Friday said the United States was responding to attacks by Iran-backed militias earlier this month in which one USA military contractor was killed and nine other people were wounded. In a sign of heightened tensions between the Iraqi government and Iran-backed groups that are also part of Iraq's security forces, Sabareen said the USA strikes had been aided by an Iraqi intelligence official posing as a shepherd.

One of those strikes, on a military complex in the Kurdish regional capital Arbil on February 15, killed a civilian and a foreign contractor working with coalition forces, and wounded several USA contractors and a soldier.

Iraqi militiamen march and chant anti-US slogans while carrying a picture of Qassem Soleimani, left and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq, days after their assassination, Baghdad, Iraq, January 4, 2020.

More importantly, leaders in Tehran have taken measure of President Biden's pledge to use renewed diplomacy to resurrect the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and his desire to curtail America's decades-long military activities in the Middle East, both of which suggest a less bellicose approach than embraced by President Donald Trump. In an interview with a local television network Thursday, Iraq's foreign minister, Fuad Hussein, said those calling themselves "the resistance" and launching rocket attacks in Iraq were no more than terrorists.

France is working with worldwide and regional partners to ease tensions in the region, the source said. Mansour, who tracks armed groups in Iraq, said the newer groups appeared to be made up of fighters armed with weapons connected to the larger Iran-linked paramilitaries.


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