The United States will deploy attack aircraft in the Middle East and keep a carrier group in the Mediterranean Sea, the Pentagon announced on March 31.
Pentagon Spokesman Lieutenant Colonel Phil Ventura said that a squadron of A-10 attack aircraft are deploying to the region ahead of a scheduled deployment as a result of the recent attacks by Iranian-backed forces on U.S.-led coalition bases in northeastern Syria.
The attacks, which took place on March 23 and 24, claimed the life of a U.S. military contractor and left 12 U.S. service members and a second U.S. contractor wounded. The U.S. responded with a series of strikes that killed at least eight Iran-aligned fighters.
In addition to the attack aircraft deployment, the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group was ordered to remain in the Mediterranean Sea to support the U.S. Central Command.
“We are committed to supporting the defeat-ISIS mission alongside a global coalition in Syria and prepared to respond to a range of contingencies in the Middle East if needed,” Ventura said in a statement.
According to the spokesman, the George H.W. Bush Carrier Strike Group will remain under the U.S. European Command, but it will support U.S. forces in the Middle East in the event of contingency plans and operations.
Led by the nuclear aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush, the strike group also includes the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf, the destroyer USS Delbert D. Black, and the support ship USNS Arctic.
“Collectively, these actions demonstrate the United States’ ability to rapidly reposition forces across the globe and underscores that all necessary measures will be taken to defend U.S. forces,” the spokesman said.
President Joe Biden vowed to respond to any attack on U.S. troops in Syria after the recent confrontation. However, he stated that his country is not looking for a conflict with Iran.
By bolstering its forces in the Middle East, the U.S. is apparently attempting to deter Iran and its allies. It remains unclear how Tehran will respond to Washington’s new military measures in the region, which represent a serious escalation. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps could increase its presence in Syria and Iraq.