In a swift and calculated response to a series of drone and missile attacks against U.S. bases and personnel, American fighter jets conducted airstrikes in eastern Syria early Friday. The targets of these precision strikes were sites affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, as confirmed by the Pentagon.
The retaliation comes after at least 19 attacks on U.S. bases and personnel in Iraq and Syria since October 17, including three new incidents on Thursday. The attacks resulted in 21 U.S. personnel sustaining injuries during assaults using drones on al-Asad Airbase in Iraq and al-Tanf Garrison in Syria, according to Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder.
The precision self-defense strikes were authorized by President Joe Biden to send a clear message that the United States would not tolerate such attacks. In a statement, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin emphasized that the operation was a direct response to the ongoing attacks by Iranian-backed militia groups that began on October 17.
Two F-16 fighter jets carried out the strikes near Boukamal, targeting weapons and ammunition storage areas connected to the IRGC. The U.S. military official revealed that there were Iranian-aligned militia and IRGC personnel at the base, with no civilians present. However, details about casualties and damage assessments remain pending.
The selected targets were based on the types of munitions stored by the IRGC, which were used in the previous attacks against U.S. bases and troops. The U.S. administration aims to compel Iran to direct the militia groups to cease their assaults on American bases and personnel, without escalating the conflict in the region.
The Pentagon has been clear that the retaliatory strikes are directly related to the attacks on U.S. troops and are not linked to the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict. Despite not directly accusing Iran of orchestrating the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7, the U.S. remains concerned about Iran’s support for Hamas and the potential for a wider conflict to ensue.
In response to the airstrikes, U.S. officials stressed that the American reaction was proportional and designed to deter further attacks against U.S. personnel engaged in the fight against the Islamic State group. The Pentagon has also bolstered its air defenses in the region, sending Patriot missile systems and additional fighter jets to protect U.S. forces.
The situation continues to develop, and the U.S. remains vigilant in safeguarding its troops and interests in the Middle East. While the retaliation is seen as a measured response, it underscores the United States’ unwavering commitment to defending itself against aggression while avoiding further destabilization in the region.