regular-article-logo Thursday, 08 June 2023

Syria crisis escalates after rocket volley

President Joe Biden, speaking at a news conference in Canada, sought to tamp down fears that tit-for-tat strikes between the US and militant groups could spiral out of control

Eric Schmitt Washington Published 26.03.23, 12:34 AM
Joe Biden

Joe Biden File picture

The conflict innortheast Syria escalated onFriday as Iran-backed militiaslaunched a volley of rocketand drone attacks against coalition bases after Americanreprisals for a drone attackthat killed a US contractor andinjured six other Americans. President Joe Biden,speaking at a news conferencein Canada, sought to tampdown fears that tit-for-tatstrikes between the US andmilitant groups could spiralout of control, while at thesame time warning Tehran tore in in its proxies.

“Make no mistake, the United States does not, does not, I emphasise, seek conflict with Iran,” Biden said in Ottawa, where he was making a state visit. “But be prepared for us to act forcefully to protect our people. That’s exactly what happened last night.”


The fighting, among the most serious in the area since 2019, threatens to upend recent efforts to de-escalate tensions across wider West Asia, whose rival powers, including Iran and Saudi Arabia, have made steps toward rapprochement in recent days after years of turmoil.

The initial attack on Thursday came as American forces in northeast Syria were on high alert following 78 attacks by Iran-backed militias since January 2021. But a self-destructing drone, which American officials said was of “Iranian origin,” managed to hit a coalition base anyway, killing the US contractor and wounding six others.

Two US officials said the main air defence system at the base was “not fully operational” at the time, raising questions about whether the attackers had detected that vulnerability and exploited it.

New York Times News Service

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