President Donald Trump just gave the green light to strike Iran-backed forces in Syria, the Washington Free Beacon reported Wednesday.
The paper quoted “senior Trump administration officials” who said the president was turning his attention to the militias backed by the government in Tehran.
“U.S. forces have been instructed to take all measures needed to protect American interests in Syria, including military measures, as part of an effort that comes after top officials in the Trump administration assessed that Iran is deliberately probing American weaknesses and reactions on the Syrian battlefield,” the Beacon reported.
The Iran-backed Shia groups — which include Hezbollah — have allegedly violated an agreement between the United States and Russia by having “initiated multiple encounters” with American forces. The agreement was meant to keep groups who are fighting the Islamic State group in Syria from fighting each other.
“That was very clearly a process of the Iranians and Hezbollah and [the] Syrian regime probing and testing our limits, and testing how much we were willing to do,” a senior official with the Trump administration told the paper. “In every case, it was a matter of them testing and probing, and us responding by defending ourselves.”
The forces involved in in the clashes, which include both Iran and Hezbollah, are “violating a de-confliction measure that had been worked out with the Russians,” the official added. “The forces violated the measure.”