The US warplanes launched new air strikes today, Saturday, on military points of pro-Iranian militias in eastern Syria, in response to the missile and suicide drone attacks on US bases Friday night.
This comes while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported today, Saturday, that the death toll of pro-Iranian militias as a result of US raids in eastern Syria has risen to 19, including members of the regime forces, while the American army announced that it had transferred its wounded soldiers to Iraq for treatment.
Al-Jazeera correspondent quoted a US military official as saying that US forces in eastern Syria were subjected to two separate attacks on Friday night with missiles and suicide drones, which resulted in the injury of an American soldier.
The US official stated that just before 11:00 pm local time in Syria, the “Conoco” base of the coalition forces was attacked by a missile, which resulted in the injury of an American soldier, who is in stable condition.
He added that the “Green Village” base in eastern Syria was also attacked by 3 suicide marches before midnight, stressing that the US air defenses managed to shoot down two of them, while the third hit the base and damaged a building without causing any injuries.
After the attack, the US warplanes launched air strikes on military points of pro-Iranian militia sites in Deir ez-Zor and the areas of Al-Bukamal and Al-Mayadeen in the east, according to the air observatory of the Syrian military opposition.
In a related context, the US military announced that it had sent 6 of its soldiers and a contractor who were wounded in the missile attacks that targeted its bases in Syria to Iraq for treatment.
US Central Command spokeswoman Abigail Hammock said in a statement that the condition of the six soldiers injured in the attack is stable and two of them have returned to work.
She explained that a soldier and a contractor were treated in Baghdad, while two other soldiers are being treated in Erbil, noting that the injured who were treated in Baghdad will be sent to the United States soon to monitor their health status.
In turn, the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a press statement on Saturday that the US raids killed 11 Syrians working within the pro-Iranian militias, in addition to 3 members of the regime forces, and 5 of the pro-Iranian militias of non-Syrian nationalities.
He explained that the death toll is likely to rise due to the presence of wounded, some of whom are in a serious condition, in addition to the presence of information about other dead.
In his first comment on the events, US President Joe Biden announced on Friday in Ottawa that the United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but is ready to work forcefully to protect its people.
“I gave my instructions to respond quickly after the attack on our forces Thursday in Syria by Iranian-backed groups,” Biden said – during a joint press conference with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Commenting on the US air strikes in Syria, Mike Rogers, Chairman of the Armed Forces Committee in the US House of Representatives, said that the Revolutionary Guards and its proxies are “terrorists” seeking to harm Americans and undermine US national security.
He added that the response in Syria is “a warning to any terrorist that he will face a swift and decisive response when he attacks American forces,” as he put it.
Rogers made it clear – in a statement – that US operations against groups linked to the Revolutionary Guards, including Thursday’s strike, are an important component of counterterrorism efforts.
Meanwhile, the New York Times quoted US officials as saying that the main air defense system at the coalition base in northeastern Syria was not fully operational when the base was attacked by an Iranian-made drone.
The newspaper added that an investigation had begun to find out why the system was not fully operational, and the extent of its impact on the base’s defenses.
The newspaper’s sources stated that it was also not clear whether the attackers had discovered this vulnerability, or whether the march had been sent.
Tensions in Syria between the United States of America and Iranian-backed military groups have increased in a record way in the past hours.
The new round of escalation began when a march coming from Iraq targeted the Kharab al-Jeer base of the International Coalition in rural al-Hasakah the day before yesterday, Thursday, which led to the death of an American contractor and the wounding of 6 soldiers.
In response, American planes bombed sites belonging to Iranian militias, after midnight on Thursday and dawn on Friday, targeting a weapons and ammunition depot in the Grain Center and the Rural Development Center opposite the officers’ residence in the Harabish neighborhood of Deir Ezzor city, and other locations in the Boukamal desert and the outskirts of the southern fields, causing deaths and injuries. In addition to material losses.
Iran-backed groups have carried out – according to US officials – 78 attacks on the coalition forces in Syria since 2021, and the means of attack varied between explosive drones, rockets and mortars.
Syrian sources estimate the presence of about 15,000 fighters from Iraqi, Afghan and Pakistani groups loyal to Iran in the oil-rich Deir ez-Zor province, specifically in the area between the border cities of Al-Bukamal with Iraq and Deir ez-Zor, passing through Al-Mayadeen.
The bases and centers in which American forces are present are spread in the southeastern regions of Syria, where the al-Tanf base was established, as well as to the northeast of this country, specifically near Hasakah and Deir ez-Zor.
US estimates speak of the presence of about 900 to 2,000 US soldiers in a strip of about 55 kilometers in length.