Analysis: US Airstrikes in Syria have Limited Impact on the Situation

US airstrikes in Syria targeted Iranian-backed Kataib Hezbollah overnight, December 25-26. Iranian-backed groups have carried out 103 attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria post Hamas’ October 7 attack. Most attacks involve 107mm rockets or kamikaze drones but are generally non-deadly. The US usually does not respond to the attacks, allowing Iran’s proxies to continue. The groups have links to political parties and official paramilitaries, creating further complications, as they are connected to official power corridors despite being terrorist-designated by the US. In response to an attack in Erbil, the US conducted strikes against Kataib Hezbollah targets in Iraq. The US military believes that they destroyed the targeted facilities and killed several militants. However, it is not a game-changer, and Iran prefers to keep the region in flames without escalating the situation too much.