Iranian proxy forces have launched a salvo of rockets against a US base in Syria in response to retaliatory strikes ordered by President Joe Biden.
A US base in Northeast Syria has come under attack by Iranian proxy forces. About seven rockets were were targeted at the base after US forces ordered retaliatory airstrikes on sites in Syria affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard.
In first assessments, there are no US casualties and no damage to the base near the Al-Omar oil field.
The US ordered the retaliatory strikes on sites affilliated with Iranian proxy forces after a suspected Iranian-made drone killed a US contractor and wounded six other Americans in northeast Syria.
The US retaliatory strikes reportedly killed eight Iranians.
The Defense Department said Thursday Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps crashed a UAV into a building near Hasakah in northeast Syria at approximately 1:38 pm local time, leaving one US contractor dead.
The attack also wounded five US service members and another US contractor.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement that the American intelligence community had determined the drone was of Iranian origin, but offered no other immediate evidence to support the claim.
The drone hit a coalition base in the northeast Syrian city of Hasaka.
Austin said the retaliatory strikes were a response to the drone attack “as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria” by groups affiliated with the Revolutionary Guard.
“At the direction of President Biden, I authorized U.S. Central Command forces to conduct precision airstrikes tonight in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),” said Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III.
He added: “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.”
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor, two of the American strikes killed at least eight Iranian fighters.
A US airstrike at an arms depot in Harabesh, in the eastern city of Deir el-Zour left six Iranian-backed fighters dead.
Iranian-backed militia groups and Syrian forces control the area, which also has seen suspected airstrikes by Israel in recent months allegedly targeting Iranian supply routes.
A second Us bombing at a post near the town of Mayadeen killed another two fighters, according to the Observatory, whose reporting relies on local Syrian contacts.
According to a defense official, the US counter strikes were conducted by F-15 fighter jets flying out of al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss military operations.
Iran’s paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, which answers only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been suspected of carrying out attacks with bomb-carrying drones across the wider Middle East.
The exchange of strikes came as Saudi Arabia and Iran have been working toward reopening embassies in each other’s countries.
The kingdom also acknowledged efforts to reopen a Saudi embassy in Syria, whose embattled President Bashar Assad has been backed by Iran in his country’s long war.
U.S. Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, the head of the American military’s Central Command, warned that its forces could carry out additional strikes if needed.
“We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” Kurilla said in a statement.