U.S. strikes Iranian-backed facilities in Syria; Israel hits Hezbollah near Damascus
In an escalating response to attacks on American troops, the United States has launched airstrikes against a weapon storage facility in eastern Syria, according to a statement by U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Wednesday. The facility was purportedly used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups. This move is the second such action in recent weeks, signaling a robust U.S. posture in the region.
Secretary Austin declared that two U.S. F-15 fighters executed the preemptive strikes as retaliation for recent aggressions against U.S. forces in the area. He emphasized the necessity of halting such attacks and warned of further measures to protect U.S. personnel if hostilities persist.
A senior U.S. military official, requesting anonymity, disclosed that the targeted location in Deir al Zor province had been under surveillance and that there were confident assessments of no civilian casualties. The official mentioned that a few individuals were observed near the site during the night, though they were not believed to be civilians. Investigations are underway to determine if there were any casualties among those individuals.
Separate sources, including the Syrian-based outlet Nahr Media, report that up to ten IRGC fighters might have been killed or wounded in the U.S. airstrike. The U.S. Defense Secretary has underscored the direct connection of the targeted "weapons facility" to Iranian operations.
In related developments, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Israeli airstrikes on Wednesday claimed the lives of three individuals supportive of Iran near Damascus. These strikes targeted positions of Lebanese Hezbollah, a known Iranian ally, in agricultural zones and other sites in the vicinity of Aqraba and Sayyeda Zeinab.
Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman confirmed the deaths of the three non-Syrian individuals. It noted the concurrent bombings on Syrian air defense sites in the southern part of the country. The Syrian Ministry of Defense acknowledged the Israeli air aggression, mentioning only material damages to military points in the southern region.
Local reports by al-Modon and Suwayda 24 network indicated that Israeli aircraft deployed missiles to strike areas with a heavy presence of Iranian militias, causing explosions and fires. The targeted locations hosted weapons and ammunition stores, as well as regime radar points and air defense systems.