A Tuesday night U.S. airstrike in eastern Syria hit nine targets using eight manned-combat aircraft to strike facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Fox News confirmed Wednesday.
A U.S. official told Fox News that nine guided bomb units (GBU’s) were dropped from four F-16s and four F-15s following an attack on U.S. forces in Syria on Aug. 15.
“The strike in eastern Syria was in response to attacks by Iran-backed groups against US forces in Syria on August 15th and demonstrates our resolve to defend US forces and equipment,” Gen. Michael Kurilla, commander of U.S. CENTCOM said in a statement posted to Twitter early Wednesday.
A CENTCOM spokesperson said the strikes were carried out at the direction of President Biden to and “were necessary to protect and defend U.S. personnel” in Syria.
“The United States does not seek conflict, but will continue to take necessary measures to protect and defend our people,” Col. Joe Buccino, director of CENTCOM communications said. “U.S. forces remain in Syria to ensure the enduring defeat of ISIS.”
State Department spokesman Ned Price was questioned about the airstrikes Wednesday in an interview with CNN’s John Berman who asked how the U.S. can expect to continue nuclear negotiations with Iran while hitting Iranian backed groups in Syria.
“The JCPOA, the Iran deal, it’s about one thing and one thing only; seeing to it that Iran is once again permanently and verifiably barred from ever obtaining a nuclear weapon,” Price said.
Price argued that if Iran were to obtain a nuclear weapon it would make conducting strikes to protect American forces abroad in places like Syria that much more dangerous.
“If Iran were able to obtain a nuclear weapon, every single challenge we face with the Iranian regime would become more difficult,” Price added. “If we are able to take…the specter of Iranian nuclear weapon off the table, we’ll be able to address more effectively everything else that we face from Iran and from its proxies and the groups it supports in the region.”
Fox News’ Landon Mion contributed to this report.