U.S. strikes Iranian-linked targets in Syria after drone attack kills 1 U.S. contractor, wounds 6 others
A self-exploding drone of "Iranian origin" struck a U.S. coalition military base in northeast Syria on Thursday, killing a U.S. contractor and wounding another contractor and five U.S. service members, the Pentagon announced late Thursday. President Biden ordered retaliatory airstrikes on facilities in eastern Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGS), U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in the statement.
"The airstrikes were conducted in response to today's attack as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC," Austin said. The "precision strikes" were "proportionate and deliberate" and "intended to protect and defend U.S. personnel," the Pentagon said. Two of the injured U.S. service members were treated on site, while the other four were flown to a medical facility in Iraq. All those wounded were in stable condition Thursday night, a U.S. official told The Washington Post.
"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 added. "No group will strike our troops with impunity." The sites struck by U.S. F-15 fighter jets included a munition warehouse, a control building, and an intelligence-collection site, a U.S. military official told The New York Times.
The United States attacked a munition warehouse, a control building and an intelligence-collection site, a senior U.S. military official said.
The U.S. has more than 900 troops in Syria, plus hundreds of contractors, working with Kurdish allies to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State. "Iranian-backed militias have launched dozens of attacks at or near bases where U.S. troops are in the past year alone," the Times reports, "The Kurdish Syrian forces conduct targeted raids against Islamic State members" and "guard more than 10,000 imprisoned Islamic State fighters." The U.S. mostly provides air support and intelligence.