The strike was conducted by two F-15 fighter jets in the Syrian Deir ez-Zor Governorate. The target was a weapons storage facility reportedly being used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the country's elite military service, as well as affiliated pro-Iranian militia groups. (Related: IT HAS BEGUN: Syria fires mortar shells into disputed Golan Heights, Israel strikes back.)
"This precision self-defense strike is a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by IRGC-Quds Force [Iranian special forces] affiliates," said Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin in a statement. The strike was ordered by President Joe Biden.
A senior military official who spoke with reporters claimed that the location housed "weapons that we believe are likely used in many of the strikes that have taken place against our forces."
This is the second airstrike against Iranian proxy groups in Syria in recent weeks, with the previous airstrikes occurring on Oct. 26.
Over the past month, since the outbreak of hostilities between Israel and Hamas and other Palestinian resistance groups in Gaza, U.S. forces stationed in the Middle East have seen a massive surge in attacks directed against them.
At least 40 attacks on U.S. troops stationed in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militias using drones and rockets were recorded since Oct. 17.
"The United States is fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities," said Austin. "We urge against any escalation."
Despite this exhortation and the promise of further retaliation, the militia attacks against U.S. troops show no sign of abating. Former Pentagon officials have warned that the White House may need to consider taking more forceful actions against U.S. enemies in the region. Current officials claimed that the recent airstrike was "necessary and proportionate."
"We hold Iran accountable for these attacks, not just the militia groups," said one senior defense official to reporters. "The message is to Iranian senior leaders: 'We want you to direct your proxies in militia groups to stop attacking us.'"
The two airstrikes against targets in Syria are Biden's first authorized use of force against militants in the Middle East since February 2021, when he ordered an airstrike against another Iranian-backed militia group in Syria. That strike was done in response to a rocket attack against U.S. forces in Erbil, Kurdistan in Iraq earlier that month.
There are currently 2,500 U.S. troops in Iraq working with Iraqi forces and another 900 troops in Syria working with anti-Islamic State militia groups.
Learn more about the worsening conflict in the Middle East at WWIII.news.
Watch this clip from Fox News reporting on the most recent U.S. airstrikes in Eastern Syria.