Moscow strongly condemns U.S. air strikes in Syria against facilities belonging to what the Pentagon said were Iran-backed militia, Russia’s Foreign Ministry said on Friday.
“We strongly condemn such actions,” the ministry’s spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said. “We call for the unconditional respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria.”
US President Joe Biden on Thursday directed US military airstrikes in eastern Syria against facilities belonging to what the Pentagon said were Iran-backed militia, in a calibrated response to rocket attacks against U.S. targets in Iraq. .
The strikes appeared to be limited in scope, potentially lowering the risk of escalation. It was not immediately clear what damage was caused.
Syrian state-owned Ekhbariya TV said the strikes had been at dawn against several targets near the Syrian-Iraqi border, and quoted a medical source at a hospital in the area and other unspecified local sources as saying 17 people had been killed.
That toll could not be independently confirmed.Biden’s decision to strike only in Syria and not in Iraq, at least for now, gives Iraq’s government some breathing room as it carries out its own investigation into a Feb. 15 attack that wounded Americans.
“At President (Joe) Biden’s direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted air strikes against infrastructure utilized by Iranian-backed militant groups in eastern Syria,” Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.