US strikes Iran-backed facilities in Syria after drone kills American – Middle East Monitor
The US military carried out multiple air strikes in Syria on Thursday night against Iran-aligned groups blamed for a drone attack that killed an American contractor, wounded another and wounded five US troops, the Pentagon said. Reuters reports.
The Pentagon revealed both the attack on US personnel and the retaliation at the same time late Thursday.
The attack on US personnel at a coalition base near Hasakah in northeastern Syria occurred at around 1:38 pm (1038 GMT) on Thursday, he said.
The US intelligence community believed the one-way attack drone was of Iranian origin, the military said, a conclusion that could add to already strained relations between Washington and Tehran.
While drones have previously targeted US forces stationed in Syria, fatalities are extremely rare.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the retaliatory strikes were carried out under the direction of President Joe Biden and that the targeting facilities were used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
READ: Israel needs to reassess the effectiveness of its airstrikes on Syria
“The airstrikes were carried out in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against Coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC,” Austin said in a statement.
“No group will reach our troops with impunity.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group that monitors the war in Syria, said US strikes left eight pro-Iranian fighters dead in Syria.
Reuters he was unable to independently confirm the toll.
the state of Iran Press the TVsaying that no Iranians were killed in the attack, local sources stated that the target was a military post aligned with Iran, but that a rural development center and a grain center near a military airport were hit.
He said: “A military source in Syria told Press the TV that the resistance groups retain their right to respond to the American attack and take reciprocal action.”
The drone attack on US personnel caused injuries that, for three service members and a contractor, required medical evacuation to Iraq, where the US-led coalition fighting the remnants of Daesh has medical facilities. , the Pentagon said. The other two wounded American troops were treated at the base in northeastern Syria, he said.
US troops have come under attack by Iran-backed groups about 78 times since the beginning of 2021, according to Army Maj. Erik Kurilla, who oversees US troops in the Middle East as head of Central Command.
Deployment in Iraq, where Iran also has influence, has been subject to drone and rocket attacks in recent years.
Kurilla, testifying to the House Armed Services Committee earlier Thursday, warned about Iran’s fleet of drones.
“The Iranian regime now has the largest and most capable unmanned aerial vehicle force in the region,” he said.
Three drones targeted a US base in January in Syria’s Al-Tanf region. The US military said two of the drones were shot down, and the other drone hit the compound, injuring two members of the Free Syrian Army forces.
US officials believe the drone and rocket attacks are being directed by Iranian-backed militias, a reminder of Syria’s complicated geopolitics where President Bashar Al-Assad relies on support from Iran and Russia and sees US troops as occupants.
The attack came just weeks after top US General Mark Milley visited northeastern Syria to assess the mission against Daesh and the risk to US personnel.
When asked by reporters traveling with him if he believed it was worth the risk to deploy about 900 US troops to Syria, Milley tied the mission to the security of the United States and its allies, saying: “If you think that is important, then the answer is ‘Yes’.”
“I happen to think it’s important,” said Milley.
The US deployment, which former President Donald Trump nearly ended in 2018 before scaling back, is a remnant of the larger global war on terror that included the war in Afghanistan and a much larger US military deployment to Iraq. he plans to withdraw.
Although Daesh lost areas of Syria and Iraq it controlled in 2014, sleeper cells still carry out hit-and-run attacks in remote areas that neither the US-led coalition nor the Syrian army have full control over.
Thousands more Daesh fighters are being held by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, America’s main ally in the country. American officials say Daesh may still pose a serious threat.
READ: The crime of not responding to Israeli raids in Syria