Middle Euphrates River Valley, Syria
21 October 2023

U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, citing “recent escalations by Iran and its proxy forces across the Middle East”, announced “the deployment of a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) battery as well as additional Patriot battalions to locations throughout the region to increase force protection for U.S. forces”, adding: “An additional number of forces on prepare to deploy orders as part of prudent contingency planning, to increase their readiness and ability to quickly respond as required”. He also conferred with his Israeli counterpart regarding “the continued provision of security assistance and the U.S. commitment to deter any state or non-state actor seeking to escalate this war [between Israel and Gaza]”. The following day, Secretary of State Antony Blinken: “We are concerned at the possibility of Iranian proxies escalating their attacks against our own personnel... We’re taking every measure to make sure that we can defend them and, if necessary, respond decisively. Not at all what we’re looking for, not at all what we want, but we’ll be prepared if that’s what they choose to do”.

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