Air strike in Damascus, Syria
Air strike in Damascus, SyriaSANA/Handout via REUTERS

The Pentagon announced on Thursday night that President Joe Biden had ordered strikes on two facilities in Syria used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard and groups supported by Tehran.

"Today, at President Biden's direction, US military forces conducted self-defense strikes on two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups," said Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin in a statement.

"These precision self-defense strikes are a response to a series of ongoing and mostly unsuccessful attacks against US personnel in Iraq and Syria by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on October 17," he added.

"The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today's action to make clear that the United States will not tolerate such attacks and will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests," stated Austin.

"The United States does not seek conflict and has no intention nor desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iranian-backed attacks against US forces are unacceptable and must stop," Austin continued. "Iran wants to hide its hand and deny its role in these attacks against our forces. We will not let them. If attacks by Iran's proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people."

Earlier this week, US officials confirmed that American troops stationed in the Middle East have been attacked 13 times in the last week by suicide drones and rockets.

Department of Defense spokesman Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder stated on Tuesday that American forces in Iraq have been attacked 10 times between October 17-24, while US forces in Syria have been attacked three times over the same period.

Biden has several times warned Iran not to attack US troops in the region, including in a speech earlier this month in which he warned Iran not to take advantage of the fighting between Israel and Hamas.

"Let me say again, any country, any organization, anyone thinking of taking advantage of this situation, I have one word: Don’t. Don’t,” Biden said.

The President later repeated this warning in an interview with CBS’ “60 Minutes”.