US Faces Criticism and Support After Retaliatory Strikes: Tensions Rise in the Middle East

Following attacks on Iraq and Syria in retaliation for a drone strike that killed three US soldiers in Jordan last weekend, the United States faced criticism on Saturday from Iran and its allies as well as support from London.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani said in a statement that "last night's strike on Syria and Iraq is an ambitious move and another strategic miscalculation by the US administration, which will have no impact other than heightening tension and instability in the region."

The US has not yet named a single organization responsible for the fatal assault in Jordan; instead, it has placed the responsibility on the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, a wide coalition of militias supported by Iran. Hezbollah in Iraq, however, is a major suspect.

More than 85 targets were hit by the massive overnight bombardment of strikes at seven different locations. These targets included intelligence and command centers, missile and rocket launchers, drone and ammunition storage sites, and other facilities associated with the militias or the IRGC's Quds Force, the Guard's expeditionary division that manages Tehran's relations with and arming of regional militias.

In an apparent attempt to halt the dispute from becoming worse, the US did not seem to target Iran directly or high-ranking members of the IRGC's Quds Force within its borders. Iran has denied having planned the strike on Jordan.

The Syrian military released a statement claiming that the attacks throughout the night killed "a number of citizens and troops, injured others, and caused major damage to public and private property."

It went on to say that "US troops' occupancy of portions of Syrian land cannot continue" and reaffirmed the army's "commitment to free all Syrian territory from terrorism and occupation."

The attacks, according to the Syrian Foreign Ministry, "added to the [US] record of breaches of Syrian sovereignty" and territorial integrity and helped to "inflame the war in the Middle East in an exceedingly hazardous manner."

The ministry released a statement in which it said that Syria "condemns this obvious American violation and completely rejects all the pretexts and falsehoods used by the American administration to legitimize this strike."

According to Rami Abdulrahman, head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 23 persons who were manning the targeted facilities were killed in the attacks in Syria. There have been previous accusations against the war monitor for exaggerating the number of casualties.

In Iraq, the office of Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani said on Saturday that 16 people—including civilians—had died and 25 had been wounded as a result of the attacks.

It denounced the attacks as a "new assault against Iraq's sovereignty" and referred to claims that the Baghdad administration had arranged them with Washington in advance as "lies."

According to the statement, the US-led military coalition's presence in the area "has become a pretext for jeopardizing peace and stability in Iraq and a rationale for engaging Iraq in regional and worldwide crises."

"Iran's proxies have played with fire for months and years, and it is now burning them," Polish Foreign Minister Radek Sikorski said to reporters as he arrived for the summit in Brussels.

approximately 900 US soldiers are stationed in Syria and approximately 2,500 in Iraq as part of the coalition that was established in 2014 to combat the Islamic State group, which took control of about a third of Iraq that year.

More than 165 drone and missile assaults on coalition forces in Iraq and Syria have occurred since mid-October; the Islamic Resistance in Iraq has claimed most of them.

Some of the Iran-backed militias have always posed a danger to US sites, but when Israel launched its war against Hamas in response to the October 7 onslaught on Israel that claimed 1,200 lives and left 253 hostages, the organizations stepped up their attacks.


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