US diplomat urges US to hit Iran’s proxies in Syria ‘more forcefully’


The US base in al-Tanf in southern Syria


Nov 20, 2023. Posted by  Balkan Periscope - Hellas

US has to carry out more strikes against Iranian-backed militias and proxy forces in Syria and Iraq to prevent any escalation in the region following sets of tit-for-tat attacks on US bases, former US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said.


In an interview with the Washington Examiner, Esper said that strikes the US conducted against Iranian-backed militias and proxy forces in Syria and Iraq in response to mounting strikes on US troops has not been “forceful enough and frequent enough.”


The escalation by the Iranian-backed militias against US troops in Syria and Iraq has mounted since the outbreak of the Israel-Hamas conflict on Oct.7.


On Nov. 16, the Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary, Sabrina Singh, said that the Iranian-backed militias have launched 58 attacks against troops in Syria and Iraq since the conflict began.


Esper added that the US strikes’ objective is to prevent the region from being dragged into more escalation following the Oct.7 conflict, stressing that this will only be achieved by striking warehouses.


“I think the way you prevent escalation is by responding more forcefully…to expand to a broader array of targets,” said Esper.


He also urged the US military to hit Iran for supporting proxy forces and other militias, such as Hamas and Hezbollah.


Speaking of the role of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), he noted, “They are the ones supplying and supporting these proxy forces.”


The US Department of the Treasury designated on Nov. 16 six individuals of the Kata’ib Hizballah, an Iranian-backed militia based in Iraq, for directing a “spate” of attacks on the US and its partners in Syria and Iraq


The former Secretary of Defense stressed that the US has to give “a more forceful response, both in frequency and volume.”