What is behind US clashes with ‘Iran-backed’ fighters in Syria?

by | Aug 26, 2022 | World

Escalation comes after months of calm and amid productive ongoing talks to restore the Iranian nuclear deal.Three separate days of skirmishes this week between the United States’s military forces and reportedly Iranian-backed militias in Syria have put the spotlight on the US presence in the country, just as indirect negotiations to salvage the Iran nuclear deal enter what appears to be the final stage.
US President Joe Biden said on Thursday that US attacks killed four fighters in eastern Syria, adding that Washington’s action aimed at protecting its forces from attacks by Iran-backed armed groups in the region.
“I directed the August 23 strikes to protect and defend the safety of our personnel …  and to deter the Islamic Republic of Iran and Iran-backed militia groups from conducting or supporting further attacks on United States personnel and facilities,” Biden said in a statement to the US Congress over his decision to take military action.
Iran has denied the groups involved are backed by Tehran, or that the targets were linked to it and has called for US forces to withdraw from Syria.
Biden said the attacks had shelled a facility used by the groups for logistics and ammunition storage and were a response to raids on the US and its allies in the region.
Three US service members also suffered minor injuries on Wednesday, when armed groups launched rocket attacks at two military bases in northeast Syria, according to US Central Command, adding that US forces killed the four suspected fighters in response …

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