In a statement released by the Pentagon on Thursday, a US contractor was killed by a suspected Iranian-affiliated drone in Syria. The drone attacked a facility that housed US personnel in northeast Syria and injured five other US service members, as well as an additional US contractor. In response to the attack, the US military carried out precision airstrikes in eastern Syria. The Pentagon has stated that the US intelligence community has assessed the UAV to be of Iranian origin.
The strikes targeted weapons depots inside Deir Ezzor city, and six pro-Iran fighters were killed. Additionally, two other fighters were killed in strikes that targeted the desert of Mayadine and near al-Boukamal. Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin authorized the precision airstrikes in eastern Syria against groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps at the direction of President Joe Biden.
Army General Erik Kurilla has stated that US troops in the Middle East have been targeted by Iranian-backed groups around 78 times since the beginning of 2021. If it is confirmed that the drone attack was indeed carried out by Iran, it could further worsen the already strained relations between Washington and Tehran.
The attack against US personnel took place at a coalition base near Hasakah in northeast Syria at around 1:38 pm on Thursday. Three injured service members and a contractor were taken to Iraq for treatment, while two other American troops were treated at the base.
The situation is rapidly evolving, and tensions are high in the region. The US has made it clear that no group will strike their troops with impunity, and it remains to be seen how Iran will respond to the latest developments.