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16 June, 2024
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US strikes target Iran-backed groups in Iraq and Syria after troop attack

UK stands by US response to regional tensions, condemns Iran's activities


In response to an attack that claimed the lives of three American troops in Jordan last weekend, the United States has launched strikes on Iraq and Syria.

According to a report on Sky News, the strikes, aimed at Iranian-funded armed groups operating in the region, have stirred concerns about escalating tensions and potential repercussions in the already volatile Middle East.

The Iraqi military has cautioned that the strikes could have "disastrous" consequences for the region, underscoring the complex dynamics at play in the aftermath of the retaliatory action.

The attack that prompted the US response was claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella term encompassing various Iran-backed groups operating in Iraq. These groups have been actively involved in armed operations against US troops stationed in Iraq and Syria, a conflict stemming from America's involvement in the Israel-Hamas war.

Experts suggest that the use of a generic term like the Islamic Resistance in Iraq serves to obscure the precise identity of the groups orchestrating attacks. According to analysis from the Washington Institute, the coordinated efforts under this banner suggest a higher coordinating power, potentially Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

Among the groups believed to be part of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq are Tashkil al-Waritheen, Kataib Hezbollah, Asaib Ahl al Haq, Harakat Hezbollah al Nujaba, Kataib Sayyid al Shuhada, Badr Organization, and the Zaynabiyoun Brigade (Syria). The Zaynabiyoun Brigade, a Shia militia, traces its origins to the Syrian civil war and has been sanctioned by the US Treasury for its support of the IRGC's Qods Force and involvement in human rights abuses.

Another group targeted by the strikes is the Fatemiyoun Division, an Afghan militia primarily composed of Hazara refugees from Afghanistan residing in Iran. Deployed by Iran's IRGC to fight alongside the Assad regime's forces in Syria, the Fatemiyoun Division has also faced sanctions for its support of the IRGC's Qods Force and alleged involvement in human rights violations, including the recruitment of Afghan children as young as 14.

In response to the strikes, the UK has expressed support for America's "right to respond" to attacks, condemning Iran's destabilizing activities in the region. While refraining from commenting directly on US operations, the UK government emphasized its longstanding alliance with the United States and its condemnation of Iran's multifaceted support for militant groups across the Middle East.

The US strikes targeted 85 locations across seven sites in Iraq and Syria, underscoring the gravity of the situation and the US determination to respond decisively to attacks against its personnel in the region. As tensions persist and regional dynamics remain fluid, the repercussions of these strikes are likely to reverberate across the Middle East in the days to come.

[With information sourced from Sky News]

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