House Democrat says US troops ‘have to stay in northern Syria’ in wake of Iranian-backed attacks
Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-Ill.) said on Sunday that the U.S. military will not leave Syria after a string of attacks from Iran-backed militias on American bases in the country last week left one U.S. contractor dead and five service members wounded, saying “we’re not going anywhere.”
“We’re not going anywhere, we have to stay in northern Syria and work with our partners in Iraq as well in fighting ISIS,” Krishnamoorthi said in an interview with ABC’s “This Week” on Sunday.
There are more than 900 U.S. troops in Syria, tasked with fighting back any emerging remnants of ISIS. The U.S. said last week that an Iranian-backed group struck an American base in northeast Syria with a drone last Thursday, leaving the one contractor dead. The U.S. responded with precision airstrikes of Iranian-backed groups on the same day, at the direction of President Biden.
A second U.S. base was hit on Friday by a rocket attack, with no casualties reported.
“I think the Biden administration did exactly what it had to do in responding to these Iranian militias,” Krishnamoorthi said.
Iran-backed militia groups have attacked U.S. troops in Syria at least 78 times since 2021, according to officials.
National Security spokesman John Kirby said Sunday on CBS’s “Face The Nation” that the U.S. would “see where this goes,” leaving the door open to even more American retaliatory attacks on the militias.
“The president… made it very clear that we’re gonna always act to defend our troops and our facilities,” Kirby said, reiterating Biden is committed to keeping those U.S. troops in Syria.
“Here’s what’s not gonna change… the mission in ISIS is not gonna change,” Kirby said. “We have under 1,000 troops in Syria that are going after that network which is, while greatly diminished, still viable and still critical.”
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