U.S. Base in Syria Attacked by Iranian Proxy Group after Retaliatory Airstrikes
Iranian proxy forces launched a missile attack against a U.S. base in Syria on Friday, one day after the U.S. military conducted several airstrikes against Iran-aligned groups in retaliation for an Iranian drone attack killed a U.S. contractor and injured five service members.
The Iranian-aligned groups launched roughly seven rockets on Friday targeting an American base southeast of the Syrian province of Der el-Zour. No known U.S. casualties were recorded in initial assessments.
“We’re going to work to protect our people and our facilities as best we can. It’s a dangerous environment,” White House national security spokesman John Kirby told CNN.
Army General Erik Kurilla, the head of Central Command, said after the first attack on Thursday that the U.S. is “postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks.”
President Biden directed the U.S. military to carry out retaliatory strikes against facilities affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard on Thursday after the first Iranian attack, which targeted a coalition base housing American personnel near Hasakah, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said.
“The airstrikes were conducted 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,” he said Thursday.
The Pentagon said the U.S. “took proportionate and deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimize casualties.”
“As President Biden has made clear, we will take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing,” Austin said. “No group will strike our troops with impunity.”
Three service members and a second U.S. contractor were evacuated to coalition medical facilities in Iraq, while two others were treated on site.
The U.S. strikes killed at least eight pro-Iranian fighters, according to the U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the war in Syria.