We need your help now

Support from readers like you keeps The Journal open.

You are visiting us because we have something you value. Independent, unbiased news that tells the truth. Advertising revenue goes some way to support our mission, but this year it has not been enough.

If you've seen value in our reporting, please contribute what you can, so we can continue to produce accurate and meaningful journalism. For everyone who needs it.

The military base known as Tower 22 in north-eastern Jordan. Planet Labs PBC/AP
US strikes

Damascus says US occupation 'cannot continue' after strikes hit Syria and Iraq, killing civilians

The initial strikes by manned and unmanned aircraft were hitting command and control headquarters, ammunition storage and other facilities.


SYRIA HAS PUSHED back against US attacks on its soil, saying US occupation of Syrian territory “cannot continue”.

The US military launched an air assault on dozens of sites in Iraq and Syria used by Iranian-backed militias and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Quds force.

The attack was a move in retaliation for the drone strike that killed three US troops in Jordan last weekend. 

The overnight strikes by the US killed “a number of civilians and soldiers, wounded others and caused significant damage to public and private property”, the Syrian military said in a statement this morning.

“The occupation of parts of Syrian territory by US forces cannot continue,” it stated.

President Joe Biden and other top US leaders warned ahead of the strike that America would respond to the militias and that it would not be just one hit but a “tiered response” over time.

The strikes by manned and unmanned aircraft hit more than 85 targets, including command and control headquarters, intelligence centres, rockets and missiles, drone and ammunition storage sites and other facilities

US Central Command said the strikes used more than 125 precision munitions, and they were delivered by numerous aircraft, including long-range bombers flown from the United States. One official said B-1 bombers were used.

The assault came came just hours after Biden and top defence leaders joined grieving families as the remains of the three Army Reserve soldiers were returned to the US at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Iran has denied it was behind the Jordan attack.

In a statement this week, Kataib Hezbollah announced “the suspension of military and security operations against the occupation forces in order to prevent embarrassment to the Iraqi government”.

But Harakat al-Nujaba, one of the other major Iran-backed groups, vowed yesterday to continue military operations against US troops.

The US has blamed the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a broad coalition of Iran-backed militias, for the deadly attack in Jordan, but has not yet narrowed it down to a specific group. Kataeb Hezbollah is, however, a top suspect.

Some of the militias have been a threat to US bases for years but the groups intensified their assaults in the wake of Israel’s war with Hamas following the 7 October attack on Israel.

The war has killed tens of thousands of civilians in Gaza and sparked conflict in four other countries.

As of Tuesday, Iran-backed militia groups had launched 166 attacks on US military installations since 18 October, including 67 in Iraq, 98 in Syria and now one in Jordan, according to a US military official.

The last attack was on 29 January at at al-Asad airbase in Iraq, and there were no injuries or damage.

The US, meanwhile, has bolstered defences at the base in Jordan that was attacked by the ran-backed militants on Sunday, according to a US official.

While previous US responses in Iraq and Syria have been more limited, the attack on Tower 22, as the Jordan outpost is known, and the deaths of the three service members has crossed a line, the official said.

That drone attack, which also injured more than 40 service members, largely Army National Guard, was the first to result in US combat deaths from the Iran-backed militias since the war between Israel and Hamas broke out.

Tower 22 houses about 350 US troops and sits near the demilitarised zone on the border between Jordan and Syria. The Iraqi border is only six miles away.

Additional reporting by AFP

Press Association