Drone attack on US base in Syria kills six allied Kurdish fighters as Iran-backed militias respond to American strikes and Islamic Resistance in Iraq claims responsibility
- The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said on Monday the strike hit a training site at al-Omar base in Syria’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour.
An Iranian-backed militia in Syria says its fighters are responsible for a deadly attack on a base housing US troops in the eastern part of the country, the first since Biden approved a plan to target groups controlled by Tehran in the Middle East is supported. .
The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said on Monday the strike hit a training ground at al-Omar base in Syria’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour, where the forces’ commando units are trained. No casualties were reported among US troops.
This new escalation of hostilities comes as Foreign Secretary Antony Blinken heads to the region, his fifth visit since Hamas’ brutal attack on Israel on October 7.
An umbrella group of Iraqi militias backed by Iran, called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, released a video claiming responsibility for the attack and showing them launching a drone from an unspecified location.
In late January, a drone strike by the same group killed three US troops and wounded dozens more at a desert base in Jordan. The US military has launched dozens of retaliatory strikes against Iran-backed militant groups in western Iraq and eastern Syria and has also hit the Houthis in Yemen.
This photo was released by the Ministry of Defense (MOD) on Sunday. 4 February 2024 shows an RAF Typhoon FGR4 aircraft returning to base in Cyprus, following strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen
The SDF initially accused ‘Syrian regime-backed mercenaries’ of carrying out Sunday’s attack, but in a second statement blamed ‘Iran-backed militias’ after investigating the attack.
The umbrella group has launched dozens of drone strikes on US military bases and troops in Iraq and Syria, and has called for the withdrawal of US soldiers from both countries.
Rights said at least seven SDF fighters were killed in Sunday’s attack and at least 18 others wounded, some in critical condition.
The attack late Sunday came two days after the US military carried out strikes against militant targets linked to Iran in Syria and Iraq.
The SDF said it had the right to respond to the attack.
The US military said on Sunday it hit four anti-ship missiles poised to be fired at vessels in the Red Sea from Houthi rebel-held areas in Yemen.
In a statement early Monday, US Central Command said the strikes were in self-defense and came after forces determined the missiles “pose an imminent threat to US naval ships and merchant vessels in the region.”
Sunday’s strikes came a day after the US and Britain launched a second wave of strikes against the Houthis, aimed at weakening the Iranian-backed group’s capabilities to attack vessels in the Red Sea. The US and Britain said they hit 36 Houthi targets.