U.S. forces were attacked at least four times more by Iran-backed groups in Syria after the U.S. military carried out airstrikes on targets linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps on Sunday, a U.S. official told CNN.
All four strikes came after the US hit a training facility and a safe house near the towns of Abu Kamal and Mayadin on Sunday. The Pentagon is not currently tracking any injuries or damage from the four latest attacks.
“The president has no higher priority than the safety of American personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel and its interests,” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said of the US strikes on Sunday.
According to a US official, the four attacks were a mix of rocket and drone strikes across four different locations. On Sunday night, a multiple missile strike was launched against troops at Mission Support Site Euphrates, Syria, and two one-way drone strikes were launched against troops at Mission Support Site Green Village and al-Shaddadi, Syria. Both drones were shot down before reaching their targets, the official said. No injuries or damage to infrastructure were reported.
On Monday morning, several one-way attack drones were fired at forces at the Rumalyn Landing Zone, Syria. One drone was shot down, the official said, another drone hit the landing zone, causing minor damage to four tents. There were no injuries.
Other attacks this weekend included several one-way attack drones launched against forces at the Rumalyn Landing Zone on Saturday morning; one drone was shot down before reaching its target and another failed to detonate on impact. On Friday morning, a one-way attack drone targeted forces at al-Tanf Garrison in Syria, but was shot down before reaching its target. There were no casualties or infrastructure damage reported in either attack.
As of Monday morning, the latest strikes marked at least 52 against US and coalition forces since October 17 – 24 strikes in Iraq and 28 times in Syria. At least 56 troops have been wounded in the attacks by Iranian-backed groups — at least 25 have suffered traumatic brain injuries, while other injuries have been minor, Pentagon officials have said.
Sunday’s attack marks the third time the United States has attacked facilities or targets in the region following continued attacks on American and coalition forces in Iraq and Syria. Last Wednesday, two US F-15 fighter jets struck a weapons depot used by the IRGC and affiliated groups. And on October 26, the United States attacked two facilities linked to Iranian-backed militias.
On Sunday, another defense official said the training facility is believed to also serve as a logistics and weapons storage facility “based on the secondary explosions observed after the attacks.” The safe house near Mayadin was assessed to serve as a headquarters for IRGC-affiliated groups in the area, the official said.
“This operation was intended to disrupt and degrade the freedom of action and capability of the IRGC and associated forces directly responsible for attacking US forces,” the official added.
The official also said that IRGC-related militia personnel were present at the facilities when they were hit, although they said they are “unable to provide a casualty assessment at this time.”
“The United States does not seek conflict and has no desire to engage in further hostilities, but these Iran-backed attacks against American forces are unacceptable and must stop,” the official said. “We specifically targeted IRGC-associated facilities to make it clear to Iran that we will hold them accountable for these attacks against US forces.”