US not seeking war with Iran in Syria: Pentagon
Resistance against the US occupation in Syria is at an all-time high given Washington’s refusal to end its illegal presence and its plundering of the country’s resources
By News Desk - March 26 2023

(Photo credit: Anadolu Agency)

The Press Secretary of the Pentagon, Brigadier General Patrick Ryder, said on 24 March that Washington is focused on the fight against ISIS in Syria and does not seek a war with the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“We don’t seek conflict or war with Iran. Our focus in Syria is on the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Ryder said.

“Unfortunately, what you see in this situation are these Iranian-backed groups, not only in Syria but conducting operations in the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf and Iraq, conducting destabilizing operations that are meant to export terror and instability,” he added.

The US official went on to say that Washington and its coalition partners in Syria, referring to the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), are “focused on trying to ensure stability, security in these regions, and that will continue to be their focus.”

“If our people are threatened, we will continue to respond appropriately and proportionately,” he warned.

Ryder’s comments came a day after US warplanes launched several strikes on the eastern city of Deir Ezzor, targeting the Syrian military and Iranian advisors.

The US bombing was in response to a drone strike on its base in northeastern Hasakah’s Kharab al-Jir military airport, which killed a US contractor and injured several others on 23 March.

In response to the US strikes, the US base in the occupied Al-Omar oilfield was targeted in a rocket attack. Later that night, the Al-Omar base and another base were heavily targeted simultaneously in a daring and unexpected operation, which resulted in casualties among US troops.

Attacks against US bases in Syria, which are usually attributed to Iranian-linked groups, have become much more regular, particularly now, and are expected to stay on the rise and increase even further in frequency as Washington has made it clear that it has no intention of ending its illegal occupation in the country.

The US claims its presence in Syria aims to deter ISIS. However, Syrian and Russian officials have accused Washington of encouraging the extremist group’s activity in order to maintain a pretext for its occupation, which has focused consistently on the looting of Syrian natural resources.

Washington’s military and logistical support for extremist ISIS cells in Syria is said to take place mainly in the 55-kilometer area surrounding the US base in Syria’s eastern Al-Tanf region, which is geographically linked to parts of the Syrian desert – where ISIS activity surged recently in an unprecedented manner.

At the start of this month, it was reported that the US military was offering financial rewards for information on Iranian drones in Syria. Sources suggested at the time that the US was preparing for the possibility of more frequent strikes against its forces, particularly in Al-Tanf.

According to a report released by the Lebanese daily Al-Akhbar on 25 March, “there is undeclared Russian-Iranian coordination to escalate against the US presence in Syria, with the aim of pressuring the US and forcing it to make a decision to withdraw from its bases in the north and east of the country.”

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