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U.S. launches airstrikes in Syria against Iran-backed groups

The airstrikes come a week after the U.S. said its facilities were attacked by Iran-backed groups.
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The U.S. launched airstrikes in Syria on Tuesday, targeting what it said was infrastructure used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The strikes were carried out at the direction of President Joe Biden, Col. Joe Buccino, the communication director for Central Command, said in a statement.

There are not believed to have been any casualties in the strikes, which hit nine bunkers used for storage, a U.S. military official said. The bunkers were described as ammunition depots and logistics supply facilities.

The U.S. notified Russia’s military minutes before the airstrikes using a deconfliction line, the U.S. military official said. The strikes were carried out by F-15 and F-16 fighters.

The airstrikes, which happened early Wednesday local time, were retaliation for attacks Aug. 15 on U.S. military facilities in Syria, the military official said.

“The U.S. strikes targeted infrastructure facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” Buccino said.

On Aug. 15, there were drone attacks near Al-Tanf Garrison and rocket fire landed near the Green Village base, officials have said. There were no casualties, the military has said.

The military official said the U.S. is certain that Iranian-aligned groups were the source of both attacks.

The official said the U.S. is confident there were no casualties in the airstrikes because it spent hundreds of hours observing the sites.

The strike was initially supposed to hit 11 bunkers, but strikes against two were called off after signs of life and movement of people there, the official said.

“The strike in eastern Syria was in response to attacks by Iran-backed groups against U.S. forces in Syria on August 15, and demonstrates our resolve to defend U.S. forces and equipment," Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla, the commander of U.S. Central Command, said Tuesday night ET.

There was no immediate acknowledgment by Syria’s state-run media of the strikes. Iran did not acknowledge the attack.

U.S. forces are in Syria to fight the Islamic State terrorist group. In July, the military said a U.S. airstrike in Syria killed a senior Islamic State leader, Maher al-Agal.

 U.S. officials have accused Iranian proxies or Iranian-backed militias of conducting strikes targeting bases that house U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq. 

Iran’s U.N. mission this year said the country had no role in the incidents.