Biden ordena un bombardeo a milicias proiraníes en Siria / Biden takes first military action with Syria strike on Iran-backed militias

Se trata del primer ataque militar que trasciende del actual presidente estadounidense
El bombardeo a infraestructuras de estas milicias ha dejado 22 muertos

Estados Unidos ha bombardeado este jueves supuestas posiciones de milicias proiraníes en Siria, el primer ataque ordenado por el presidente, Joe Biden, desde su llegada al poder, según ha informado el Pentágono. Según el Observatorio Sirio de Derechos Humanos, el bombardeo ha dejado 22 muertos.

“Bajo instrucciones del presidente Biden, las fuerzas militares de Estados Unidos realizaron esta noche ataques aéreos contra la infraestructura utilizada por grupos militantes respaldados por Irán en el este de Siria”, indicó Washington en un comunicado.

Estados Unidos ha asegurado que los ataques aéreos han destruido “varias instalaciones” ubicadas en un punto de control fronterizo cercano a Irak y utilizadas por Kataib Hizbulá y otra milicia proiraní.

Respuesta a ataques recibidos en Irak
El Pentágono ha explicado que el bombardeo es la respuesta a recientes ataques contra tropas estadounidenses y de la coalición internacional en Irak, así como de “continuas amenazas” contra este personal.

“Esta operación lanza un mensaje inequívoco: el presidente Biden actuará para proteger al personal estadounidense y de la coalición”, afirmó el Pentágono en su comunicado. La embajada de Estados Unidos en Bagdad fue objeto este lunes de un ataque cuando impactaron en el exterior de sus instalaciones en plena Zona Verde dos cohetes tipo Katiusha.

Una semana antes, el pasado día 15, un soldado estadounidense resultó herido y un contratista murió en Erbil, la capital del Kurdistán iraquí, tras el impacto de varios “katiushas”, tres de ellos en el aeropuerto de la capital.

Los ataques contra instalaciones estadounidenses en Irak han aumentado desde que Estados Unidos matara en enero de 2020 al poderoso comandante iraní Qasem Soleimaní mediante un bombardeo selectivo en Bagdad, una acción que fue muy criticada por las fuerzas políticas iraquíes y por las milicias proiraníes del país.

De los ataques contra la Zona Verde se suelen hacer responsables grupos armados poco conocidos, pero Washington acusa directamente a Kataib Hizbulá, una milicia iraquí financiada directamente por Irán que EE.UU. ha clasificado como organización terrorista.

Rusia condena el bombardeo
La portavoz del Ministerio de Asuntos Exteriores de Rusia, María Zajárova, ha condenado este viernes en una rueda de prensa el bombardeo de Estados Unidos contra las posiciones de las milicias proiraníes en Siria.

“Condenamos categóricamente tales acciones. Llamamos al respeto incondicional de la soberanía e integridad territorial de Siria”, ha indicado la portavoz.

Por su parte, el portavoz del Kremlin –principal aliado del líder sirio, Bachar al Asad–, Dmitri Peskov, ha asegurado que Moscú sigue “muy atentamente” la situación y que está “en permanente contacto con los colegas sirios”.

El titular de Asuntos Exteriores, Sergei Lavrov, ha afirmado que Estados Unidos advirtió a Rusia varios minutos antes de que se llevara a cabo el ataque, un plazo que el ministro ha calificado de inadecuado, según ha recogido la agencia de noticias Reuters. Lavrov también ha pedido a Estados Unidos que renueve los contactos con Moscú para aclarar la posición de Biden sobre Siria. PorRTVE.es/AGENCIAS

Biden orders airstrikes in Syria, retaliating against Iranian-backed militias

Biden takes first military action with Syria strike on Iran-backed militias

The US military has carried out an air strike targeting Iran-backed militias in Syria, in the first military action undertaken by the Biden administration.

The Pentagon said the strike was ordered in response to attacks against US and coalition personnel in Iraq.

The US action destroyed “multiple facilities” used by Iraqi militant groups, it said.

Militia officials said one person had been killed but a war monitor reported at least 22 fatalities.

The Pentagon said its strike near the Iraqi border in eastern Syria was a “proportionate military response” that was taken “together with diplomatic measures”, including consulting coalition partners.

It came after a civilian contractor was killed in a rocket attack on US targets earlier this month. A US service member and five other contractors were also injured when the rockets hit sites in Irbil, including a base used by the US-led coalition.

Rockets have also struck US bases in Baghdad, including the Green Zone, which houses the US embassy and other diplomatic missions.

There are about 2,500 US troops in Iraq to assist Iraqi forces in the fight against the Islamic State (IS) group.

What do we know about the air strike?
The Pentagon said the strike on Friday was launched “at President Biden’s direction”.

It targeted facilities located at a border control point used by a number of Iran-backed militia groups, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, who are allied with the Damascus government.

Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada have previously carried out or supported rocket attacks targeting US assets in the country. The US has launched retaliatory strikes.

But Kataib Hezbollah has denied involvement in recent attacks against US interests.

In its statement, the Pentagon said its latest operation “sends an unambiguous message”.

“President Biden will act to protect American and Coalition personnel. At the same time, we have acted in a deliberate manner that aims to de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq,” it said.

The US did not confirm any casualties, but an Iraqi militia official told the Associated Press news agency at least one fighter was killed and a number of others wounded.

The official said the strikes hit an area along the border between the Syrian city of Boukamal and the Iraqi town of Qaim.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitoring group, said the US attack had killed at least 22 fighters from the Popular Mobilisation Forces, an Iraqi umbrella group of mostly Shia paramilitaries that includes Kataib Hezbollah.

“The strikes destroyed three lorries carrying munitions,” the observatory’s Rami Abdul Rahman earlier told AFP. “There were many casualties.”

Several attacks targeting US personnel have been claimed by little-known groups. But some Iraqi and Western officials say these are a front for established militias, so they can carry out attacks without being held accountable.

US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters he was “confident in the target that we went after”.

“We know what we hit,” he said. “We’re confident that that target was being used by the same Shia militants that conducted the strikes” on 15 February.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the strike was meant to punish the militias but not to escalate tensions with Iran, with whom the US is seeking to renew talks over a nuclear deal abandoned by former President Donald Trump, the New York Times reports.

Since 2009, the US has designated Kataib Hezbollah as a terrorist organisation, accusing them of threatening the peace and stability of Iraq.

Iran’s influence over Iraq’s internal affairs has grown steadily since the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003.