An American contractor was killed and 5 U.S. service members had been injured in a drone strike on a facility in northeast Syria on Thursday, the Pentagon mentioned in a press release.
U.S. intelligence officers assessed that the unmanned aerial automobile which hit the bottom close to Hasakah was “of Iranian origin.” In response, Secretary of Protection Lloyd Austin licensed U.S. Central Command forces to conduct their very own “precision airstrikes” Thursday night time focusing on amenities in Syria utilized by teams with hyperlinks to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
“The airstrikes had been performed in response to at the moment’s assault in addition to a collection of latest assaults towards Coalition forces in Syria by teams affiliated with the IRGC,” Austin mentioned. “As President Biden has made clear, we’ll take all essential measures to defend our individuals and can at all times reply at a time and place of our selecting. No group will strike our troops with impunity.”
Two of the injured U.S. service members had been handled on website whereas one other three required medical evacuation to Coalition medical amenities in Iraq, the Pentagon mentioned. The contractor was additionally evacuated. The id of the deceased contractor and people of the injured personnel haven’t been launched.
The Pentagon’s assertion mentioned its airstrikes had been “supposed to guard and defend U.S. personnel” and that its actions had been “proportionate and deliberate.”
In a separate statement, U.S. Central Command Commander Normal Erik Kurilla mentioned American forces may perform additional strikes if they’re attacked once more. “We’re postured for scalable choices within the face of any extra Iranian assaults,” Kurilla mentioned.
He added that ideas and prayers had been with the American casualties and their households. “Our troops stay in Syria to make sure the defeat of ISIS, which advantages the safety and stability of not solely Syria, however the whole area,” Kurilla mentioned.
Based on the Syria Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), a bunch which paperwork the conflict in Syria, the U.S. strikes left “eight Iranian-backed militiamen useless.”
“The variety of fatalities is predicted to rise, because the strikes left a number of militiamen injured, some severely, amid unconfirmed experiences of extra fatalities,” the SOHR mentioned, including that the strikes additionally induced “heavy materials losses.”
Earlier on Thursday, earlier than the strikes, Kurilla advised a Home Armed Companies Committee listening to that Iranian proxy teams had performed 78 drone and rocket assaults on U.S. forces throughout the Center East since 2021. When requested if such strikes constituted acts of conflict, Kurilla mentioned: “They’re being performed by the Iranian proxies is what I’d let you know.”
Round 900 American troops are at present deployed in Syria, with lots of of different U.S. contractors additionally working within the area. Though American forces have suffered assaults in Syria earlier than, deadly strikes are unusual.