US military officials have voiced their concerns that the "aggressive military campaign" Israel is waging in Syria against Iran-backed militia groups might cause the Islamic republic to attack American targets in Syria and Iraq in retaliation, as reported by The Wall Street Journal.
After Israel had attacked more than 200 times in Syria within the last 18 months, the Pentagon spokesman Navy Cmdr. Sean Robertson asserted Israel is operating on its own when asked about the matter.
"However, we support Israel's right to self-defense against immediate threats. If any action on the battlefield was to jeopardize American troops, the commanders would take the necessary steps.
"US forces are always prepared to defend themselves," Robertson stated.
The White House spokeswomen Sarah Sanders said that "Iran and Hezbollah cannot be allowed to build a weapons arsenal, which would pose a threat to the region, on the Israeli border."
According to the newspaper, the US has conveyed its concerns over the matter to Israel, but did not elaborate by which means.
Moreover, the US military officials said they do not think the issue would influence the close political ties between Israel and the US.
It was also reported that US military officials are worried that Teheran will carry out a counterattack against American soldiers, especially in Iraq, where more than 5,000 US troops are stationed, since it believes Israel received its intelligence from Washington, enabling it to launch its strikes in Syria.
Recent attacks by Shiite militias against US forces in Iraq have reinforced the Pentagon's concerns.
The US State Department evacuated last month its consulate in the city of Basra in southern Iraq after it was attacked by Iran-backed forces.
Nicholas Heras from the Center for New American Security in Washington said that the chances of an Iranian attack against American troops in Syria are high.
"It's worrisome. Iran will always see the US as the one contributing to these attacks," Heras said in reference to Israeli strikes in Syria.
In August, US National Security Adviser John Bolton told Reuters during his visit to Israel that Russian President Vladimir Putin, who met Trump in Helsinki on July 16, had told the United States that Moscow could not compel the Iranians to leave Syria.
Addressing the strikes in Syria attributed to Israel, Bolton said "every time Iran has transferred weapons to Syria over the past few months—Israel launched an attack there.
"We think Israel is acting out of self-defense, as we did when we struck in Syria twice after Assad had used chemical weapons.
"But we're very concerned as we look at the military situation and we want to be unmistakably clear to Assad that we expect there will be no use of chemical weapons," he added.
"If the Syrian regime uses chemical weapons again, we would retaliate firmly," the US national security adviser concluded.