Iran and Syria’s governments have criticized the US for conducting airstrikes in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, which reportedly caused the deaths of 19 people. The attacks were carried out in response to a drone attack on US forces, according to Washington.
Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, Nasser Kanani, stated that the recent US airstrikes targeted civilian locations and violated both international law and Syrian sovereignty. He also accused the US of using the fight against ISIL as an excuse to occupy Syria and exploit its natural resources.
Kanani denied US and Israeli accusations that the IRGC has a significant military presence in Syria, stating that Iran only has military advisers there at the request of the Syrian government. The Syrian foreign ministry condemned the recent airstrikes as a violation of its territorial integrity and accused the US of continuing Israel’s attacks. It also pledged to end the American occupation.
The US said its raids against what it claimed were facilities affiliated with the IRGC came as a response to a drone attack earlier in the week that killed an American contractor in Syria. A war monitor said 19 people were killed in the US attacks.
After the attacks, US President Joe Biden said the US “does not seek conflict with Iran, but is prepared to act forcefully to protect our people”.
Earlier on Saturday, Keyvan Khosravi, the spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, had threatened an Iranian response if its positions were targeted.
“Any excuses to attack bases that have been established on Syrian soil at the request of the Syrian government to combat terrorism and Daesh agents will be met with a reciprocal response without hesitation,” he was quoted as saying by state-run media.
Pro-Iranian forces in Syria have also warned of a further response amid tit-for-tat missile and drone attacks this week.
The latest confrontation with the US comes as Tehran works to re-establish formal diplomatic ties with regional rival Saudi Arabia and potentially other Arab states.
Syria will reportedly restore its relations with the kingdom after Tehran and Riyadh review an agreement reached earlier this month with Chinese mediation.