Tehran, Iran – The governments of Iran and Syria have condemned the United States for attacks on Syrian soil that reportedly killed 19 people, which Washington said it carried out following a drone attack on US forces.
Both the Iranian and Syrian foreign ministries late on Saturday slammed the US air attacks that targeted the strategic region of Deir ez-Zor bordering Iraq.
In a statement, Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanani said the “terrorist” attacks by the US hit civilian targets and constituted a violation of international law and Syrian sovereignty.
“The US claims that it is present in Syria to fight Daesh [ISIL] that itself had a major role in creating is just an excuse to continue its occupation and loot Syria’s national wealth, including its energy resources and wheat,” he said.
Kanani also said Iran only has military advisers on the ground in Syria at the request of its government, rejecting US and Israeli claims that the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has a sizeable military presence in Syria.
The Syrian foreign ministry criticised the “brutal” attacks that it said killed several people and amounted to a violation of its territorial integrity. It added that the attacks were a continuation of Israeli attacks and vowed to “end the American occupation”.
The US said its raids against what it claimed were facilities affiliated with the IRGC came as a response to a drone attack earlier in the week that killed an American contractor in Syria. A war monitor said 19 people were killed in the US attacks.
Earlier on Saturday, Keyvan Khosravi, the spokesman for Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, had threatened an Iranian response if its positions were targeted.
“Any excuses to attack bases that have been established on Syrian soil at the request of the Syrian government to combat terrorism and Daesh agents will be met with a reciprocal response without hesitation,” he was quoted as saying by state-run media.
Pro-Iranian forces in Syria have also warned of a further response amid tit-for-tat missile and drone attacks this week.
The latest confrontation with the US comes as Tehran works to re-establish formal diplomatic ties with regional rival Saudi Arabia and potentially other Arab states.
Syria will reportedly restore its relations with the kingdom after Tehran and Riyadh review an agreement reached earlier this month with Chinese mediation.