US launches airstrikes on Iran-backed group in Syria after drone attack
The United States has launched a series of airstrikes against an Iran-backed group in Syria, in response to a drone attack on a coalition base in the country’s north-east. The US contractor was killed in the attack, while five US service members and another contractor were injured. The Pentagon confirmed that two of the wounded service members were treated on site, while the others were transported to medical facilities in Iraq.
The US Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin released a statement in which he said that US Central Command forces had carried out “precision airstrikes” against facilities in eastern Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
He added that the intelligence community had determined the unmanned aerial vehicle used in the attack on the coalition base was of Iranian origin.
“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.”
Videos on social media purported to show explosions in Syria’s Deir Ez-Zor, a strategic province that borders Iraq and contains oilfields. Iran-backed militia groups and Syrian forces control the area, which has also been targeted by suspected airstrikes by Israel in recent months, allegedly aimed at hitting Iranian supply routes.
"US Air Force launched airstrikes on Iranian targets in the Albu Kamal region of Deir ez-Zor province.— Justartsandstuff ???????????????????????? (@justartsndstuff) March 24, 2023
An official statement from the US military command says that the raid was carried out in response to a kamikaze drone attack on a US military facility in Hasaka province 1/ pic.twitter.com/ph8723t8mq
The strikes, which were carried out during the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, come amidst ongoing tensions between the US and Iran. The paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been suspected of carrying out attacks with bomb-carrying drones across the wider Middle East. There was no immediate reaction from Iran over the strikes.