Iranian-backed proxies launched a barrage of rockets at a base in northeast Syria where U.S. forces are based as part of their mission to defeat the Islamic State terror network. The attack occurred shortly after 8 a.m. Friday, local time, and targeted coalition forces at Green Village, officials said.
Defense Department officials said at least 10 rockets were fired at the base. It was the second such attack on U.S. personnel within the past 24 hours and believed to have come from groups loyal to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.
“The attack resulted in no injuries and no damage to equipment or facilities,” Air Force Brigadier General Pat Ryder told reporters at the Pentagon.
One of the rockets missed Green Village by about three miles but struck someone’s home. It caused significant damage to the house along with minor injuries to two women and two children, officials with U.S. Central Command said.
“This kind of indiscriminate rocket attack places not only our forces and coalition forces at risk but also jeopardizes the local civilian population, as well as the security and stability of Syria and the entire region,” Colonel Joe Buccino, a Central Command spokesman, said.
Friday’s attack followed an earlier strike on American troops in Syria that killed a U.S. contractor and injured five U.S. military personnel and a second contractor. That prompted retaliatory airstrikes late Thursday against the IRGC-backed group. The Defense Department hasn’t identified the group responsible but Iran-backed militias like Kata’ib Hezbollah and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada have launched repeated strikes on U.S. troops over the past several years.
“I’m not going to talk about potential future operations other than to say we will always reserve the right to respond appropriately,” Gen. Ryder said.
The U.S. response to Thursday’s assault was carried out by U.S. Air Force F-16 jet fighters assigned to the Central Command area of responsibility.
“We’re continuing to assess the outcome of the strikes. The initial indications are that the (Iranian-backed militia) facilities were destroyed,” General Ryder said.
The U.S. has about 900 troops stationed in Syria. Along with taking on ISIS fighters, American troops have regularly found themselves underfire from Iranian-backed proxies. Gen. Erik Kurilla, the head of U.S. Central Command, told lawmakers in DC this week that the groups have launched almost 80 attacks on American troops there since January 2021.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a Republican from South Carolina, slammed the Biden administration’s response to the Iranian proxy attacks, calling them “weak and uncertain” and saying they will likely lead to additional American deaths.
Senator Graham said he fears Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and General Mark Milley, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, are not proving to be up to the task of protecting the U.S.
“President Biden and his national security team are letting America down,” he said. “The ultimate blame for the failing foreign policy and military situation we find ourselves in lies with President Biden.”
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