The Biden administration is targeting Iranian-linked fighters in Syria.
On Thursday, the Biden administration carried out an airstrike in Syria against suspected Iranian-linked fighters, signalling its intention to push back against violence thought to be supported by Tehran.
Pentagon Speaker John Kirby said the assault on the eastern Syrian border control post, the first move directed by the Biden administration to drive back suspected Iranian-related activity in Iraq and Syria, was "approved in response to recent attacks and continued threats against American and coalition personnel in Iraq."
He said Iranian-linked militias, including Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada, were using the facilities.
The activity followed the latest significant attack that American authorities have traced to Iranian-linked groups active in Iraq and Syria against U.S. locations in Iraq. A missile strike in northern Iraq earlier this month killed a contractor operating for the U.S. military and wounded a U.S. service member there.
"In a tweet, Kirby said, "President Biden will move to secure American and Coalition workers. "At the same time, we have been behaving in a concerted way aimed at de-escalating the general situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq."
A U.S. official, speaking to provide more information on the condition of anonymity, said the single attack hit a cluster of buildings and was thought to have killed up to a handful of civilians.
The assault comes just over a month into Biden's term, as he seeks to open Iran's diplomatic gates. Biden committed to European-led negotiations with Iran on the future of the 2015 international nuclear agreement renounced by former President Donald Trump.
Iran has seemed to rebuff the initial attempts of Biden to revive diplomacy, and the United States remains outside the arrangement for now.
The airstrike seems to be part of a U.S. warning to Iran that by targeting U.S. interests, it will not increase its influence in such negotiations, however Biden's decision to use force could also set back his plan to move U.S. national security attention away from the Middle East.