The Pentagon reported that a suspected Iranian-made drone struck northeast Syria on Thursday, killing a US contractor and injuring five American service members and a second contractor.
After this, American forces claimed to have carried out “precise airstrikes” in Syria against facilities used by organizations linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, killing at least eight militants on the ground, according to one activist group, the AP writes. The strike and the US response pose a threat to recent efforts in the wider Middle East to deescalate tensions, whose major countries have made progress toward détente in recent days after years of unrest.
In a statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin claimed that the drone’s origin was Iranian, although he provided no additional clear proof to back up that assertion. “The airstrikes were carried out in reaction to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria,” Austin said. These attacks were carried out by organizations connected to the Revolutionary Guard.
He said that President Biden gave the go-ahead for the retaliation attacks.
According to the Pentagon, three more injured service members and the injured contractor were taken to medical facilities in Iraq, while two of the injured service men were treated locally.
Videos posted on social media overnight claimed to show explosions in Deir el-Zour, a vital area of Syria that borders Iraq and has oil deposits. Syrian army and militia groups supported by Iran are in charge of the region, which has also recently been the focus of alleged Israeli bombings aimed at Iranian supply channels. The strikes were not immediately acknowledged by Iran or Syria.
The head of Central Command, US Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, cautioned that American forces could launch additional strikes if necessary. In a statement, Kurilla stated that “we are prepared for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks.”
US Military Carries Out Airstrikes in Syria After Drone Attack Kills American Contractor |
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