In Brief: US seeks to calm tensions after drone strikes in Syria

Drone > avionespana, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The United States has sought to calm fears of military escalation in Syria following a drone strike against groups linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

President Biden stated that “the United States does not seek conflict with Iran”, whilst maintaining that he will continue to defend Americans against attacks from Iran and its proxy forces in the region.

The strikes are widely viewed as retaliation for the death of an American contractor and the wounding of seven others in Syria following a drone attack the previous week.

Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin said that the Pentagon ascertained from the debris that the attack had been sponsored by the IRGC.

Reports of the number of persons killed in the US attack are unverified, however the Syrian Human Rights Observatory estimates that as many as 11 combatants had been killed.

Iran for its part has yet to acknowledge responsibility for the attacks against the American contractors, however it is widely known that IRGC has maintained an active presence in Syria since the country descended into civil war in 2013.

Following the attack, US National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan made efforts to halt the cycle of mutual retaliation, utilising interlocutors in Qatar to calm tensions with Tehran, in the absence of formal relations between Washington and Tehran since 1980.