0510 GMT April 22, 2021
Damascus censured the US air raid against positions of Iraqi counterterrorism forces on the Iraqi-Syrian border, which killed one and wounded four others, describing it as a “bad sign” from the administration of new US President Joe Biden.
In a statement carried by the official SANA news agency on Friday, the Syrian Foreign Ministry said the Arab country “strongly condemns the American act of aggression” in the early hours of the day on facilities used by forces of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) – better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi – at a border point in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor Province, Press TV reported.
“It is a bad sign regarding the policies of the new US administration which should adhere to international” norms, the statement added.
Iraqi resistance forces have been fighting remnants of the Takfiri Daesh terror group across border regions of Iraq and Syria in coordination with the governments in both Arab countries.
In a statement issued after the assault, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the raid had been “deliberate” and meant to “de-escalate the overall situation in both eastern Syria and Iraq.”
An informed source told Press TV that one person had lost his life and four others had been injured in the US military’s act of aggression.
The military action, the first of its kind under US President Joe Biden, was said to be in retaliation for recent attacks against American bases and missions in Iraq, which Washington has blamed on Iraqi resistance groups.
In the latest such attacks, rockets hit Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses the US Embassy and other missions, on Monday. The American military base at Erbil International Airport had similarly been attacked days earlier.
The Iraqi resistance groups and many Iraqi officials have, however, roundly dismissed Washington’s allegations, blaming rogue elements.
Pro-Western media outlets described the US air raid on the Iraq-Syria border as a “signal” to Iran, which is claimed by Washington to be using Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi as a “proxy” force in the neighboring country.
Iran has repeatedly rejected any role in the attacks targeting American bases in Iraq.
Reacting to the mid-February rocket attack on the US base in Erbil, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh rejected “suspicious” attempts to tie Tehran to that raid.
“Iran views Iraq’s security and stability as crucial to the region and other neighbors, and rejects any action that disrupts peace and calm in this country,” he said back then.
Raid won’t weaken Syrian resolve
In turn, Faiz al-Ahmed, the head of the Syrian Parliament’s Committee on National Security, severely condemned the US airstrike, which targeted the positions of the Syrian Army and its allied forces.
“What just happened is highly dangerous,” the senior lawmaker told Iran’s Tasnim News Agency. “Washington is keeping up its act of aggression” to advance the interests of the regime in Israel.
The attack, he added, “will not undermine the iron resolve of Syria and its allies to drive American occupiers out of the Syrian soil,” but will rather “strengthen the Syrian nation’s determination to strengthen its role in the resistance axis to confront the West and global arrogance.”
Foreign Minister Segei Lavrov of Russia, an ally of Syria, said on Friday that the United States had notified Moscow of the impending attack on the PMU facility “four or five minutes ahead of time.”
“Our military was warned four or five minutes ahead of time. Of course, even if we are talking about deconfliction, as is customary in ties between Russian and US military personnel, this is nothing! This was a kind of notification when the strike was already being carried out,” Lavrov said.
The Russian foreign minister said the US military is present on Syrian soil “illegally, in violation of all norms of international law, including Security Council resolutions on reconciliation in the Syrian Arab Republic.”
He said Russia had received unconfirmed information that the US is planning to stay in Syria indefinitely.
“We have recently received different information from various sources. We cannot confirm it for now, and want to ask the Americans about this directly. Supposedly, they are making the decision to never leave Syria, even to the point of destroying this country,” Lavrov said.
A Russian senator condemned the airstrike, accusing Washington of an “outrageous” violation of international law on Friday.
Washington’s move was “extremely outrageous,” Senator Sergei Tsekov, a member of the upper house Federation Council’s Foreign Affairs Committee, told the RBC news website, the Moscow Times reported.
“Now, if someone struck a blow on US territory, what would that look like? They strike at the territory of a sovereign republic without the consent of Syrian leadership,” he said.
China: Syria’s sovereignty must be respected
The Chinese Foreign Ministry also reacted to the US air raid, warning against any action that further complicates the situation in crisis-hit Syria.
“China calls on all relevant parties to respect Syria's sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin at a press briefing on Friday.