America is prepared to use force to protect its people, the US president has said
US President Joe Biden has commented on airstrikes carried out by the US in Syria in response to a deadly drone attack on a coalition base, which Washington blamed on Iranian-linked militias. He warned Tehran that there will be retribution for incidents such as this.
"To make no mistake, the United States does not - does not, emphasize - seek conflict with Iran. But be prepared for us to act forcefully to protect our people. That's exactly what happened last night," Biden said at a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa on Friday.
One US contractor was killed, and five American troops and a contractor were wounded after a kamikaze drone struck a US-led coalition base near the town of Hasakah in northeastern Syria around midday on Thursday, the Department of Defense said earlier, adding that the UAV was found to have been of Iranian origin.
Later that day, according to the Pentagon, American F-15 fighter jets carried out two airstrikes in Syria on facilities used by groups allegedly associated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The bombings were conducted on the order of President Biden, the Pentagon added.
Shortly thereafter, ten rockets were launched at Green Village, a US military position in northeastern Syria. The attack, which did not result in any casualties or destruction, was also blamed on the Iranian-backed militias by Washington.
"We're going to continue to keep up our efforts to counter terrorist threats in the region in partnerships with Canada and other members of the coalition to defeat ISIS [Islamic State]," Biden said.
Earlier, local sources told Iran's Press TV that the US missiles actually hit a rural development center and a grain facility in the eastern Syrian province of Deir ez-Zor. "No Iranian was killed," the broadcaster claimed.
READ MORE: US Congress rejects Syria troop pullout
Around 900 US troops remain in oil-rich northeastern Syria after being deployed there in the mid-2010s under the pretext of fighting Islamic State. Damascus considers their presence illegal and has repeatedly complained to the UN. The Syrian government's position is shared by Russia and Iran, which have assisted the country in its fight against terrorism.