US Conducts Airstrikes in Syria After One American Killed in Suspected Iranian Drone Attack on Base

Caden Pearson
By Caden Pearson
March 24, 2023Middle East

The U.S. military carried out an airstrike in Syria on Thursday after a drone attacked a U.S. base, killing one and injuring six more, including service members, according to the Department of Defense (DOD).

In a late Thursday night statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin announced that he had authorized U.S. Central Command forces to carry out precise airstrikes in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC).

“The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against Coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC,” Austin said.

According to the U.S. Intelligence Community, the unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) responsible for the attack on the coalition base near Hasakah in northeast Syria was determined “to be of Iranian origin.”

The UAV targeted a maintenance facility and struck at approximately 1:38 p.m. local time, resulting in the death of one U.S. contractor and injuries to five service members and an additional U.S. contractor.

Two of the wounded service members received medical treatment on site while three other service members and the U.S. contractor were evacuated to coalition facilities in Iraq for further medical attention.

The DOD declared that the strikes were carried out with the aim of safeguarding and defending American personnel. It also affirmed that the response was “proportionate and deliberate” and aimed to curtail the possibility of increased hostilities and casualties.

Austin emphasized that President Joe Biden had conveyed the message that the United States would use all necessary means to protect its people and would retaliate on its own terms.

“No group will strike our troops with impunity,” he added.

The defense secretary expressed condolences for the family of the contractor and sympathy for those who were injured in the attack.

‘We Will Always Take All Necessary Measures to Defend Our People’

CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla said in a statement that American forces struck facilities used by the IRGC.

“We will always take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing. We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” he said in a statement.

Kurilla said U.S. troops remain in Syria to ensure “the enduring defeat” of the ISIS terrorist group. He said the U.S. presence has other benefits, such as providing security and stability for Syria and the region.

The general warned that U.S. forces “are postured” to carry out further actions if necessary, “in the face of any additional Iranian attacks.”

Some 900 U.S. troops remain in Syria. In 2019, former President Donald Trump announced the withdrawal of thousands of service members following the defeat of ISIS.

The IRGC is an Iranian government agency tasked with defending the Iranian regime from perceived internal and external threats.

The United States has already designated the IRGC as a “foreign terrorist organization” and subjected it to unprecedented sanctions. Other governments, including in Australia, the United Kingdom, and European Union, have debated whether to follow suit.

Lawmakers in Britain sought to have the group declared a terrorist organization after it was revealed that it had plotted to kidnap and murder people in the UK.

Elected officials from Australia’s center-right coalition party, the Liberal Nationals, earlier this year urged the center-left governing Labor Party to declare it a terrorist organisation following reports that the group targeted Australian organisations with malicious ransomware attacks.

In January, lawmakers in the European Parliament called for the EU to ban any economic or financial activity that can be linked to the IRGC.

The group, which answers to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has been suspected of carrying out attacks with drones in the Middle East.

At a congressional hearing on Thursday, Kurilla said Iranian proxies are thought to be behind several attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq since 2021.

From The Epoch Times