U.S. bombers and other aircraft conducted airstrikes on 85 targets at seven locations across Iraq and Syria on Friday, in a massive show of American firepower. The strikes were primarily focused on taking out command-and-control centers, logistics hubs and weapons storage facilities associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force and their militia groups, which have attacked U.S. troops in Iraq, Syria and Jordan at least 169 times since October.
Ryder said Monday that “it’s fair to assume” there were casualties in Friday’s strikes. However, the Pentagon is not aware right now that any Iranians were killed, he said.
Iran-backed proxies conducted at least two attacks on U.S. troops in Syria since the strikes, Ryder said, but there were no U.S. casualties. A Defense Department official, who was granted anonymity to discuss a sensitive topic, said there was another attack on a U.S. position in Syria on Monday.
U.S. officials have repeatedly said the U.S. response to the Jordan attack could involve multiple rounds of military action. John Kirby, a spokesperson for the National Security Council, said on Fox News Sunday that “what you saw on Friday night was just the first round. There will be additional response action taken by the administration against the IRGC and these groups that they’re backing.”
“I’m telling you, that’s not the end of it. There will be more,” Kirby said.
Jake Sullivan, the national security adviser, also warned Sunday that the U.S. will respond directly to Tehran if needed.
“I would just say, from the perspective of Tehran, if they chose to respond directly to the United States, they would be met with a swift and forceful response from us,” Sullivan said on ABC’s “This Week.”
Ryder emphasized that “We the United States Department of Defense do not see war with Iran. But if our forces are threatened or attacked, we will take appropriate action.”