During a press briefing on Tuesday, Brigadier General Pat Ryder avoided clarifying whether specific incidents, such as the Israeli strike on the Saint Porphyrius Greek Orthodox Church, are in line with the Department of Defence’s understanding of the laws of armed conflict. “I won’t delve into a doctrinal discussion about the laws of war,” he remarked, leaving the issue ambiguous.
Discussing a range of issues concerning the US Department of Defence’s activities in the Middle East, Ryder delineated the US’s three main objectives in the Middle East: supporting Israel’s right to self-defence, averting a wider regional conflict, and ensuring the safety of US troops. “Between 17 and 24 October, US and coalition forces have been attacked at least 10 separate times in Iraq and three separate times in Syria through a combination of one-way attack drones and rockets,” he noted.
When probed about the involvement of Iran-backed militias in these attacks, Ryder confirmed their support from the IRGC and the Iranian regime. He further cautioned against the likelihood of a more significant escalation against US forces in the region.
On the Israel-Hamas conflict, Ryder underlined the US’s commitment to Israel’s security and the necessity of protecting innocent civilians. “We continue to stress the importance of safeguarding innocent civilians in this conflict, both Palestinian and Israeli, and ensuring the provision of humanitarian aid to those in need,” he concluded. However, he was notably vague on the subject of the legal guidelines that govern these actions.