By Kyle Anzalone / Antiwar.com
Three American bases in Eastern Syria were targeted with rockets and drones on Friday. One American soldier was injured in the attack. The American bases came under fire after the US carried out airstrikes in eastern Syria.
The violence in Syria escalated on Thursday when a US outpost was attacked. One contractor was killed by a drone strike. Additionally, five soldiers and one contractor were wounded. The Pentagon claimed it had intelligence that the drones used in the attack were of “Iranian origin.”
Biden responded by authorizing airstrikes against groups affiliated with Iran in the regions. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said American forces conducted “airstrikes tonight in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).” It is estimated that 19 soldiers were killed by the American bombs.
Tehran said there would be a “counter-response” to the airstrikes. “Any pretext to attack bases created at the request of the Syrian government to deal with terrorism and Islamic State elements in this country will be met with an immediate counter-response,” Keyvan Khosravi, spokesperson for the Supreme National Security Council of Iran warned.
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The Pentagon also warned it would respond to further attacks. “We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” a statement from CENTCOM Commander, General Michael “Erik” Kurilla said.
On Friday, National Security Council Spokesperson John Kirby stated Biden immediately authorized the airstrikes after learning about Thursday’s attack. “He made the decision very, very shortly in that discussion to authorize the strikes against these particular targets,” He added, “We are not seeking a conflict with Iran.”
Three additional attacks against American outposts occurred on Friday. The first incident occurred around 8 am and resulted in some civilian casualties. “March 24th, at approximately 8:05 am local time, 10 rockets targeted coalition forces at the Green Village in northeast Syria.” According to a statement from Central Command, “The attack resulted in no injuries to US or coalition personnel and no damage to equipment or facilities. One of the rockets missed the facility by almost five kilometers, striking a civilian house, causing significant damage and causing minor injuries to two women and two children.”
Later in the day, the US military bases at the Al-Omar and Conoco oil fields were hit with rockets and drones. Fewer details have been reported for these attacks. Fox News national security correspondent Jennifer Griffin tweeted that a US official said “one involved Iranian proxy forces firing rockets. A second involved multiple Iranian drones.”
Tehran entered the Syrian war at the request of Damascus. Iranian support forces have helped to push back jihadist groups. However, the Syrian government and its partner forces, including ones backed by Iran, have come into conflict with American forces as well. As part of its economic war against Damascus, Washington occupies the eastern third of Syria, including where most of the country’s oil and wheat resources are located. Damascus views the American forces as illegally occupying Syrian territory.
The US has an estimated 900 troops in Eastern Syria. Those forces have come under attack about 80 times since 2021.