June 3, 2023

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Foreign Ministry Spokesperson: Attacks on bases linked to Iran in Syria will receive a prompt response

BEIRUT (Reuters) – An Iranian security spokesman said on Saturday that strikes on bases linked to Iran in Syria would receive a swift response, after reports that 19 people were killed in one of the deadliest exchanges between the United States and Iranian loyalists. forces in years. Read more

“Any pretext to attack the bases that were established at the request of the Syrian government to deal with terrorism and ISIS elements in this country will be met with an immediate counter-response,” the spokesman for Iran’s Supreme Security Organ, Kayvan Khosravi, was quoted as saying. By the semi-official news agency Nournews.

Iran says its forces and allied fighters are in Syria at the request of Damascus and considers US forces to be occupiers.

The Syrian war-monitoring group said on Saturday that the death toll from US air strikes on pro-Iranian facilities in eastern Syria had risen to 19 fighters.

The United States carried out strikes in eastern Syria in retaliation for a drone attack on Thursday that killed an American contractor and wounded another, along with five American soldiers. Washington said the attack was of Iranian origin.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said airstrikes killed three Syrian soldiers, 11 Syrian pro-government militia fighters, and five non-Syrian government-aligned fighters.

Rami Abdel Rahman, head of the Observatory, could not specify the nationalities of the foreigners. Reuters could not independently confirm the death toll.

The initial exchange led to a series of tit-for-tat blows. Another US soldier was wounded, according to officials and local sources, who said a suspected US missile hit more sites in eastern Syria.

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President Joe Biden warned Iran on Friday that the United States will “act aggressively” to protect Americans.

Iran has been a major supporter of President Bashar al-Assad during the 12-year-old Syrian conflict.

Iran’s proxy militias, including the Lebanese group Hezbollah and Iraqi groups loyal to Tehran, control parts of eastern, southern and northern Syria and in the suburbs around the capital.

Tehran’s increasing entrenchment in Syria has led to regular Israeli air strikes, but US air strikes are much rarer. The United States has sounded the alarm about Iran’s drone program.

(Reporting by Maya Jubaili). Editing by Frances Kerry, Bernadette Baume, Michael Georgy and Giles Elgood

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