U.S. troops stationed in eastern Syria came under rocket attack on Friday, a day after U.S. forces conducted retaliatory air strikes on Iranian forces operating in Syria.
The barrage of eight rockets targeted U.S. troops stationed near the Al-Omar oil fields in Syria’s Deir ez-Zur province at around 8:05 a.m. local time.
“We can confirm there was a rocket attack on Green Village in Syria,” Maj. John Moore, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said in an emailed statement.
The U.S. Department of Defense (DoD) spokesperson reported no U.S. or coalition personnel were injured, and no equipment or facilities were damaged in this latest attack.
The rocket attack came a day after a U.S. contractor was killed when an explosives-laden drone crashed into a maintenance facility on a Coalition base near Hasakah in northeast Syria. Five U.S. service members and another U.S. contractor were wounded in that attack. U.S. forces determined the suicide drone was of Iranian design and attributed the attack to Iranian-affiliated groups operating in Syria. U.S. forces responded to the Thursday suicide drone attack by launching retaliatory air strikes against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).
Neither CENTCOM nor the DoD attributed Friday’s rocket attack to Iranian forces or their proxies in the area. Still, the incident could be the latest exchange of fire between the U.S. and Iranian-aligned forces in Syria.
A social media post purportedly shows a U.S. Army Apache attack helicopter operating over the Deir ez-Zur province in Syria on Friday afternoon.
Situation In Syria
“We will always take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing,” CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla said following Thursday’s deadly suicide drone attack. “We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks.”
The DoD spokesperson reiterated that U.S. forces “will always respond at a time and place of our choosing” following the rocket attack on Friday.
It is not known how U.S. forces will respond to Friday’s attack.
Kurilla said U.S. forces remain in Syria as part of ongoing efforts to counteract the Islamic State terrorist group ISIS. U.S. and coalition anti-ISIS operations in Syria and Iraq are dubbed Operation Inherent Resolve.
U.S. troops have been operating in Syria since 2014. U.S. special operations forces were among the first to launch a military operation in Syria to rescue Americans captured by ISIS. However, the American hostages could not be located, and the rescue attempt resulted in a prolonged firefight.
U.S. forces launched the broader Operation Inherent Resolve with surveillance flights and airstrikes throughout the country in August 2014. U.S. forces began operating in a more overt capacity within Syria in 2015.
President Donald Trump announced several efforts throughout his presidency to wind down U.S. military operations in Syria but ultimately maintained a U.S. troop presence until the end of his term. Around 900 U.S. troops currently remain in the country under President Joe Biden’s administration.
Iranian forces have been operating in Syria in recent years, supporting Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad and his Syrian government forces in the ongoing Syrian civil war. Iranian forces have also targeted ISIS forces in the region.
In recent years, U.S. forces have traded blows with Iranian forces and their proxies throughout Syria and neighboring Iraq. Iran launched a salvo of missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq after Trump ordered a U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and the leader of an Iranian-aligned Iraqi militia traveling in Baghdad, Iraq, January 2020.
U.S. troops came under rocket attack in eastern Syria in January, around the third anniversary of the strike that killed Soleimani.