US forces came under fire in Syria – a day after launching airstrikes against Iranian-backed militants on the country’s border.
Col. Wayne Maratto tweeted: “US forces in Syria have been attacked by several rockets. There are no casualties and the damage is being assessed. We will provide updates when we have more. information. “
He later added: “Update: US forces in Syria, while undergoing multiple rocket attacks, acted in self-defense and carried out counter-battery artillery fire at positions of. rocket launch. “
A source told CNN that the rockets were likely fired by Iranian-backed militias.
The attack took place on the site dubbed the “Green Village”. The oil field sits in the larger safe zone where US troops are helping to protect Syrian fighters.
The Biden administration launched strikes on two targets in Syria and one in Iraq near the border on Sunday.
Images show US F-15 and F-16 fighter jets carrying out airstrikes against militias as they drop 500 to 2,000 pound satellite-guided missiles at targets.
The pilots targeted their drone installations which were used to attack US troops in Iraq.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the targeted sites were being used for “operational and weapons” storage by militia groups including Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada.
He added that the facilities could launch unmanned aerial vehicle attacks against US troops in Iraq.
Kirby said Biden was protecting the United States by leading the strikes.
He said: “As tonight’s strikes demonstrated, President Biden has made it clear that he will act to protect US personnel.”
“In view of the series of attacks underway by Iranian-backed groups targeting US interests in Iraq, the president has ordered further military actions to disrupt and deter such attacks.”
White House press secretary Jen Psaki said on Monday: “The president’s opinion is that this was necessary, appropriate and deliberate action … designed to limit the risk of ‘escalation.
“We will take, and he believes we should and will take, the appropriate steps necessary to defend US personnel, partners and allies in the region.”
A US defense official told CBS that all targets were hit and there was no indication of civilian casualties.
The airstrikes were castigated by the Iraqi Defense Ministry as officials accused Washington of an “unacceptable violation” of Iraqi sovereignty.
General Yehia Rasool, spokesperson for the Iraqi armed forces commander general, said the military would conduct investigations to prevent “violations” from recurring.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Washington was taking the wrong path.
He said, “Instead of emotional actions and creating tensions and problems in the region, the United States should change its behavior and let the people of the region establish security without interference from Washington.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least seven members of an Iranian-backed militant group were killed.
Kirby said Biden acted “to protect US personnel in Iraq” with the authority given to him by domestic law.
He added that the United States was justified under international law to conduct the airstrikes as part of self-defense.
He said: “We are in Iraq at the invitation of the Iraqi government for the sole purpose of assisting the Iraqi security forces in their efforts to defeat ISIS.
“The United States has taken necessary, appropriate and deliberate steps designed to limit the risk of escalation, but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.
“The strikes were both necessary to deal with the threat and suitably limited in scope. “
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi hailed the airstrikes as a “targeted and proportional response”.
It comes after hard-line Ebrahim Raisi was elected Iran’s new president.
Pelosi said, “Protecting the military heroes who defend our freedoms is a sacred priority.
“The Iranian-backed militias using these facilities have been engaged in attacks threatening the US military, as well as our allies.
“Congress looks forward to receiving and considering official notification of this operation under the War Powers Act and to receiving additional information from the administration.”
But, Senator Chris Murphy has said he fears the United States is heading into another war with Iran, MailOnline reports.
He said: “The pace of activity directed against US forces and the repeated retaliatory strikes against Iranian proxy forces are starting to resemble what could be characterized as a pattern of hostilities under the War Powers Act.
The Biden administration had already launched airstrikes in Syria near the Iraqi border in February.
The move prompted a reaction from Progressive Democrats.
He was also criticized by Republicans after the military action was taken without consultation with Congress.
The Pentagon claimed at the time that the airstrike was a retaliatory measure and a “defensive” move.
The affected facilities were also reportedly used by Iranian-backed militias.
It was carried out after a rocket attack on a US base in northern Iraq killed a contractor and injured a US serviceman.
Still, a senior Iranian official claimed that Biden’s strike in February expanded ISIS’s activity along the Syrian-Iraqi border.
Biden said at the time that Iran should take its decision to allow US airstrikes in Syria as a warning.
He said there would be consequences for his support for militias that threaten US interests or personnel, the Associated Press reported.
Biden said, “You can’t act with impunity. Be careful.”