Iran-backed militants launch rockets on 2nd US base in Syria after Biden’s ‘precision airstrikes’
( NYPost )
Iran-backed militants launched another rocket attack on a US military base in Syria on Friday, in a tit-for-tat retaliatory exchange after President Biden ordered “precision airstrikes” on their positions.
Three missiles on Friday morning narrowly missed a US base in northeast Syria, with two falling in the nearby Al-Omar oil field and another striking a civilian house, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported.
No casualties were reported from the strike.
Three of the wounded troops — who serve as part of a coalition to beat back Islamic State militia groups — had to be medically evacuated to Iraq, according to the Pentagon.
The missile attack occurred hours after Biden ordered US Central Command to launch “precision airstrikes” from F-15 fighter jets on groups linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), killing at least 11.
Biden’s airstrikes came after an Iranian suicide drone killed a US contractor and injured five US military service members and another contractor at a coalition base near al-Hasakah.
Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin confirmed the airstrikes had targeted the IRGC, which the US designates as a terrorist group. He also said the unmanned drone was of Iranian origin.
“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 said. “No group will strike our troops with impunity.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Friday the US airstrikes had killed 11 people, including six confirmed pro-Iran militants and two Syrians.
White House national security spokesman John Kirby on MSNBC called the Iran-backed missiles “completely ineffective” and noted that no US personnel were harmed.
“It is not uncommon, when we take a retaliatory strike like this, for them to answer right back with some ineffective rocket fire — and these were largely, completely ineffective,” he said. “Nobody was hurt, no US casualties at all.”
US Central Command Gen. Michael Kurilla pledged further action if necessary.
“We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” he said in a statement.
Kurilla informed Congress on Thursday that since January 2021, Iran has been behind at least 78 attacks on US positions in Syria.
“Iran’s vast and deeply resourced proxy forces spread instability throughout the region and threaten our regional partners,” he told members of the House Armed Services Committee.
“What Iran does to hide its hand is they use Iranian proxies — that’s either UAVs or rockets to be able to attack our forces in either Iraq or Syria,” Kurilla added, referring to drones by their acronym.
“Iran of today is exponentially more militarily capable than it was even five years ago,” he said.