The United States dropped seven 500 pound bombs during the military airstrikes in eastern Syria that was authorised by US President on Thursday night.
The Pentagon said the bombs targeted compunds of two Iranian-affiliated Iraqi militias, Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid Al-Shuhada.
Satellite images shared by Maxar showed the damage.
The “before” image shows a compound, just over a third of a kilometre from the Iraqi border, containing around a dozen buildings of various sizes. In the “after” image, almost all the buildings have been destroyed, and the dirt in and around the compound blackened by the blasts.
A before/after of @Maxar satellite imagery shows the small area at the Syria-Iraq border that was targeted by seven U.S. airstrikes on Feb. 25. The destroyed buildings were reportedly used by Iranian-backed militias Kataib Hezbollah and Kataib Sayyid al-Shuhada. pic.twitter.com/A91dpetMBW
— Christiaan Triebert (@trbrtc) February 27, 2021
It’s unclear how many militiamen were killed. Kata’ib Hezbollah acknowledged only one dead, without specifying where on the Iraqi-Syrian border he died. A US official said “up to a handful” were killed, while other reports claim anywhere between 17 and 22 people died.
The Pentagon says the strike was intended as a US response to a series of recent rocket and mortar attacks on US and coalition positions in Iraq.
The strike drew strong criticism.
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.”