A massive US bombing campaign struck scores of targets in Iraq and Syria with over 100 bombs, leaving about 40 people dead, including civilians. President Joe Biden ordered the strikes as tensions in the Middle East are rapidly escalating.
On Friday, US Central Command announced the “military forces struck more than 85 targets, with numerous aircraft to include long-range bombers flown from United States. The airstrikes employed more than 125 precision munitions.”
On Saturday, Baghdad reported that 16 Iraqis, including civilians, were killed. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that the Syria strikes had killed 23 militia fighters. The Syrian Defense Ministry said militants and civilians were killed without providing a figure.
Baghdad and Damascus issued statements blasting Washington over the strikes. Last week, three American soldiers were killed in Jordan near the Syrian border with a drone. Biden vowed to respond to the deaths of the American troops by striking Iranian-linked targets in the Middle East.
The White House did not seek Congressional authorization for starting the war. Additionally, the White House admitted it could not directly link Tehran to the strike in Jordan. It does not appear that any Iranians were killed by US forces on Friday. In a separate incident, one Iranian officer was reported killed in Syria, likely by an Israeli air strike that took place before the American attack.
National Security Council Spokesman John Kirby said the strikes were aimed at de-escalating tension in the regions. However, The Islamic Resistance of Iraq conducted retaliatory strikes the next day against bases housing US soldiers.
The Islamic Resistance of Iraq and other Shia militias that operate in the region began targeting bases housing US soldiers in mid-October in response to the Israel onslaught in Gaza. The White House is fighting a war with similar roots against the Houthis in Yemen. While Israel has used American weapons to unleash widespread destruction and massive death on Gaza, the White House has continued to defend Tel Aviv’s rampant war crimes in the Strip.