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US strikes designed to drag regional powers into conflict: Russia

Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova (File photo)

Russia says overnight US airstrikes in Iraq and Syria were deliberately designed to inflame tensions in the region and drag the region’s major powers into a new conflict.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Saturday that US airstrikes on the two countries in West Asia once again demonstrated the aggressive nature of Washington’s foreign policy.

"It is obvious that the airstrikes are deliberately designed to further inflame the conflict.”

Washington, she said, “is purposefully trying to drive the largest countries in the region into conflict."

Zakharova said Washington’s “airstrikes involving strategic bombers across Iraq and Syria, ... once again demonstrated to the world the aggressive nature of US policy in the Middle East.”

"Recent events confirm that the United States is not and has never been looking for solutions to problems in the region.”

US military forces struck more than 85 targets in Iraq and Syria overnight Friday. The air strikes were carried out over 30 minutes and used over 125 precision munitions.

US President Joe Biden said that the strikes were the first in a series of actions in response to a drone attack that killed several soldiers at a remote US base in Jordan.

The Syrian military said the strikes had killed civilians and soldiers and caused “significant damage” to infrastructure. And in Iraq, the airstrikes killed at least 16 people, including civilians, and injured 25 others.

A spokesman for the Iraqi Armed Forces called the strikes "a threat that will drag Iraq and the region into unforeseen consequences."

US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the strikes were “the start of our response.”

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