WASHINGTON—U.S. contractor killed, 5 U.S. service members and 1 U.S. contractor injured when suspected Iranian drones attacked facilities at a coalition base in the northeast Syria On Thursday, the Pentagon said.
In a statement released late Thursday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the U.S. Central Command had retaliated with “precision airstrikes” against facilities in eastern Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard. Stated. The Pentagon said intelligence agencies determined the unmanned aerial vehicle was made in Iran.
“The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack and a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard,” Austin said.
Last night, social media videos claimed to show an explosion in Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor, a strategic province that borders Iraq and contains oil fields.
Iran-backed militia groups and the Syrian army dominate the region, and recent months have also seen Israeli airstrikes suspected of targeting Iranian supply routes.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, an Iranian paramilitary group that corresponds only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is suspected of conducting bomb-laden drone strikes across the Middle East. In recent months, Russia has begun using Iranian drones to attack sites across Ukraine as part of its war on Kiev. Iran has denied responsibility for these attacks, but Western countries and experts have linked drone components to Tehran.
The attack and US response threaten to undermine recent efforts in the region to de-escalate tensions. Saudi Arabia and Iran We are working towards the reopening of embassies in each other’s countries.The kingdom also acknowledged its reopening efforts Embassy of SyriaPresident Bashar Assad has Iranian support in his country’s long war.
US Army General Michael “Eric” Crilla, head of US Central Command, warned that US forces could carry out additional strikes if necessary. Krilla said in his statement that he was “having scalable options in place for additional Iranian attacks.”
Syria’s state news agency SANA did not immediately acknowledge the strike. The Syrian mission to the UN did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
There was no immediate response from Iran to the strike during Ramadan, the holy month of Islam. Iran’s mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Qatar’s state news agency reported a phone call between Qatar’s foreign minister and US national security adviser Jake Sullivan. Doha has recently been the interlocutor between Iran and the United States amid tensions over Tehran’s nuclear program.
Qatar’s Foreign Minister also met with Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amiravdrahian at about the same time.
Austin said he authorized the retaliatory strike at the direction of President Joe Biden.
The US under the Biden administration has previously attacked Syria over tensions with Iran. In 2021 he February and his June, and he in August 2022, Biden went on the offensive there.
US forces entered Syria in 2015 to aid allied forces in their fight against the Islamic State group. There are about 900 US troops and many more contractors in Syria, including north, south and east.
“As President Biden has made clear, we will take all necessary steps to protect our people, and we will respond whenever and wherever we choose,” Austin said. “No group will innocently attack our military.”
Syria’s civil war, which began with the 2011 Arab Spring protests, has rocked the entire Middle East and overthrew governments in Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen. It later developed into a regional proxy dispute in which Russia and Iran supported Assad. The United Nations estimates that he killed more than 300,000 civilians in this war. These figures do not include soldiers or armed groups killed in the conflict. The number is believed to be in the tens of thousands.
The Pentagon said two of the wounded servicemen were treated at the scene, while the other three and the injured contractor were transferred to a medical facility in Iraq.
https://chicago.suntimes.com/2023/3/24/23654602/us-military-launches-airstrikes-drone-contractor-killed-syria US military launches airstrikes after drone strike kills Syrian contractor