'Deconfliction Phone' Used Before Latest US Airstrike on Syria

Russian forces in Syria were alerted to the attack
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 9, 2023 1:30 AM CST
'Deconfliction Phone' Used Before Latest US Airstrike on Syria
FILE - Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin testifies before a Senate Appropriations Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Oct. 31, 2023.   (AP Photo/Manuel Balce Ceneta, File)

The US carried out an airstrike on a weapons warehouse in eastern Syria used by Iranian-backed militias, in retaliation for what has been a growing number of attacks on bases housing US troops in the region for the past several weeks, the Pentagon said. In Wednesday's strike, two US F-15 fighter jets dropped multiple bombs on a weapons storage facility near Maysulun in Deir el-Zour that was known to be used by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, US officials said, per the AP. "The President has no higher priority than the safety of US personnel, and he directed today's action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests," Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.

A military official told reporters in a call that people were seen at the warehouse during the day as the US military watched the site for hours, but the number decreased to about "a couple" overnight when the strike occurred. The official said the strike triggered secondary explosions, indicating the presence of weapons, but the US believes that no civilians were killed and any people at the warehouse were tied to the Revolutionary Guard or militia groups. The strike, said a senior defense official also on the call, was aimed at "disrupting and degrading the capabilities of groups directly responsible for attacking US forces in the region" by specifically targeting facilities associated with the Revolutionary Guard.

The precision strike, said the defense official, was deliberate and designed not to escalate the conflict in the region. The military official said a deconfliction phone line linking US military personnel to Russian forces in Syria was used to let them know about the attack. This is the second time in less than two weeks that the US has bombed facilities used by the militant groups, many operating under the umbrella of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which US officials say have carried out at least 40 such attacks since Oct. 17. While officials have said the strikes are meant to deter further attacks, they have not had that effect. Rocket and drone attacks have occurred almost daily, although in nearly all cases they have resulted in little damage and few injuries.

(More Syria stories.)

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