The U.S. military has carried out airstrikes on two locations in eastern Syria associated with Iranian-backed groups. The strikes targeted a training facility and a weapons storage site, according to U.S. officials and the Pentagon.
This marks the third time in just over two weeks that the United States has responded to a series of attacks on bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria by these militant groups.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, in a statement, clarified that the airstrikes were directed at sites near Abukama and Mayadin, which were used by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran-backed militias.
“The President’s top priority is the safety of U.S. personnel, and today’s action sends a clear message that the United States will protect its interests, its personnel, and itself,” Mr. Austin stated.
One of the targeted sites also included a weapons storage facility, according to a U.S. official who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the operation’s specifics.
The militant groups, many of which operate under the umbrella of the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, have carried out nearly 50 attacks on bases housing U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria since October 17.
These attacks began on the same day when a powerful explosion rocked a Gaza hospital, resulting in numerous casualties and triggering protests in several Muslim nations. The Israeli military had launched a series of retaliatory strikes against Gaza following the devastating Hamas incursion into southern Israel on October 7. Subsequently, several groups vowed retaliation against the U.S. for its support of Israel in the conflict.
According to the Pentagon, approximately 56 U.S. personnel have been injured in these attacks in Syria and Iraq. All of them have since returned to duty, with injuries ranging from traumatic brain injuries to minor wounds.