The US military struck a site in Syria on Thursday used by two Iranian-backed militia groups following rocket attacks on American forces in the region in the past two weeks, according to a US official.
The strikes mark the military’s first known action under President Joe Biden. The site was not specifically tied to the rocket attacks, but were believed to be used by Iranian-backed Shia militias operating in the region.
The site is believed to be used as part of a weapons smuggling operation by the militias. The strikes were carried out to degrade the ability of the groups to carry out future attacks and to send a message about the recent attacks, the US official said.
The decision to target the site in Syria was made from the “top down,” a defense official said, and was not because of a specific recommendation from the military.
The strikes come as Washington and Tehran position themselves for negotiations about Iran’s nuclear program, potentially complicating an already fragile process.
The US had not definitively blamed any specific group for the rocket attacks or attributed them to any Iranian proxies in the region, but the administration had made it clear where they place the blame.
Earlier this week White House spokeswoman Jen Psaki said the US holds Iran accountable for the actions of its proxies.