Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin announced that “U.S. military forces conducted self-defence strikes on two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups. These precision self-defence strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on October 17”. He further emphasised: “The U.S. does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iranian-backed attacks against U.S. forces are unacceptable and must stop… If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people”. “These narrowly tailored [U.S] strikes… are separate and distinct from the ongoing conflict between Israel and Hamas, and do not constitute a shift in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict”, Austin added. “We continue to urge all state and non-state entities not to take action that would escalate into a broader regional conflict”.
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