The U.S. military struck at a training facility and a safe house in eastern Syria used by Iran’s paramilitary group and its proxies on Sunday, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria have attempted at least 46 drone and rocket attacks on U.S. and coalition forces in the region after promising escalation in response to U.S. support for Israel’s war against Hamas. Sunday’s strikes are the second in one week and third round overall since the ramp-up in attacks on U.S. troops began on Oct. 17, although U.S. retaliation has not mitigated attacks from Iran’s proxy forces thus far.
“U.S. military forces conducted precision strikes today on facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to continued attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria,” Austin said in the statement Sunday. “The strikes were conducted against a training facility and a safe house near the cities of Abu Kamal and Mayadin, respectively.”
Local media and security researchers reported casualties at the site of the strikes. The reports could not be immediately confirmed.
“The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests,” Austin said in the statement.
At least 56 U.S. troops reported injuries as a result of the attacks and since returned to duty, the Pentagon has said. Some of the injuries included traumatic brain injury.
DOD just released footage of Nov. 8 strikes on IRGC weapons depot. pic.twitter.com/45FqIrEUE2
— Micaela Burrow (@micaela_burrow) November 9, 2023
Iranian-backed militias in the Middle East hope to draw the U.S. into a wider conflict, the Pentagon says.
The Biden administration previously said its retaliatory strikes would deter Iran-backed militias from attacking further.
“We want to make sure that we can contain this conflict to Israel and Hamas. We are not and have not seen this conflict widen beyond that region, beyond Israel,” Pentagon Deputy Press Secretary Sabrina Singh said on Nov. 9. “It’s important to remember that we are sending a message and that that message has been received.”
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