The authorisation of military airstrikes in eastern Syria by US President Joe Biden on Thursday has drawn criticism in the States and the Middle East.
The United States military said it carried out measured attacks on facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran-backed militias, in response to rocket attacks against US targets in Iraq.
The air raids were “deliberate” and aimed to “de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq”, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said in a statement.
Militia officials said one person had been killed but a war monitor reported at least 22 fatalities.
Syria said the air raids were a cowardly act and urged Biden not to follow “the law of the jungle”.
“Syria condemns in the strongest terms the cowardly U.S. attack on areas in Deir al-Zor near the Syrian-Iraqi border,” the Syrian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
“It (the Biden administration) is supposed to stick to international legitimacy, not to the law of the jungle as (did) the previous administration.”
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the air strikes were “illegal aggression” and a violation of human rights and international law, Iran’s state media reported.
US has long been criticised for military intervention in several Muslim-majority countries such as Iraq and Libya and imposing regime change leading to political chaos and instability.
Seyyed Mohammad Marandi, a professor of English literature and orientalism at the University of Tehran said the move showed how Biden and Trump are the same.
US journalist Ayman Moyeldin drew a timeline to show similarities between Biden’s move and several former US presidents.
Days into their Presidency before launching a military operation in the Middle East:
But tell me more about how we can turn a new page in the region?
— Ayman Mohyeldin (@AymanM) February 26, 2021
Hillary Mann Leverett, CEO of the political risk consultancy Stratega, said while the air raids sent a message about the Biden administration’s loyalties in the region, they would not diffuse the situation in the Middle East.
“The Biden administration is trying to portray this first military attack as measured in consultation with allies. But this won’t de-escalate anything.
“In fact, it signals very strongly a message to Iran that … the Biden administration is in fact trying to increase its pressure and leverage against Iran.”