American forces carried out airstrikes in the Deir Ez-Zor province of Syria. US President Joe Biden ordered the strikes that targeted areas used by militias backed by Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard.

Col. Joe Buccino of the US Central Command said in a statement that the strikes were carried out in response to a drone attack on US forces earlier this month. It was allegedly launched by Iranian-backed militias.

Also Read: In Russia-Ukraine conflict, an Iranian drone twist

The US military’s Central Command said the strikes “took proportionate, deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimize the risk of casualties”, according to news agency Associated Press.

Where is Deir Ez-Zor?

Deir Ez-Zor, located in the eastern parts of Syria, is one of the biggest provinces in the country. It shares international borders with the western regions of Iraq. Deir Ez-Zor is also surrounded by three governorates of Syria: Hasaka, Raqqa and Homs.

Deir Ez-Zor is further divided into three districts: Deir Ez-Zor, Al-Mayadin and Abu Kamal, according to the European Union Agency for Asylum.

As of March 2020, the Syrian government controls the governorate west of the city of Euphrates. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iranian-back militias and Russian forces are present in other areas.

According to the Syrian Central Bureau of Statistics, the population of the Deir Ez-Zor governorate was 11,24,000 as of 2016. No recent census data is available.

Also Read: A crisis averted: Why the world can run without Russian oil

Deir Ez-Zor is a strategic province that borders Iraq and contains oil fields. Iran-backed militia groups and Syrian forces control the area and have often been the target of Israeli warplanes in previous strikes.

According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Deir Ez-Zor governorate had 57,000 displacement movements, when Syria’s migrant crisis was at its peak. Around 79,000 individuals returned to Deir Ez-Zor in the same year.