The U.S. response to the attack on a coalition base in Syria that killed a U.S. contractor and wounded six others highlighted that the U.S. military will do what it must to protect its personnel.
Iranian-backed militias in Syria were responsible for the drone attack on the coalition base near Hasakah in northeastern Syria. The coalition base houses personnel working to ensure the lasting defeat of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III, at the direction of President Joe Biden, authorized U.S. Central Command forces to conduct precision strikes into eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, said Pentagon Press Secretary Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder during a news conference today. "The airstrikes were conducted in response to yesterday's attack, as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC," he said.
F-15E fighters assigned in Centcom launched the attack at approximately 2:40 a.m. local time. "We're continuing to assess the outcome of the strikes," Ryder said. "Initial indications are that the facilities were destroyed. These precision strikes were intended to protect and defend U.S. personnel, and the U.S. took proportionate and deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimize casualties."
This morning, Iranian-backed groups launched 10 rockets that targeted coalition forces at the Green Village in northeast Syria. The attack resulted in no injuries to U.S. or coalition personnel and no damage to U.S. equipment or facilities, Ryder said.
"Our current assessment is that this these rocket attacks were conducted by IRGC-affiliated groups, that this rocket attack was done in an effort to retaliate for last night's attacks," the press secretary said. "Again, they did not cause any damage at the coalition facility. As far as any type of future action, I'm not going to talk about or preview potential future operations other than to say we will always reserve the right to respond appropriately if our forces are threatened."
Iran is a source of instability all around the region. Ryder noted Iranian proxies operate in Yemen, the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf, and Lebanon. The Iranians have been supplying the drones that Russia is using to attack innocents in Ukraine, he said.
"The United States and our coalition allies and partners … are focused on trying to ensure stability, security in these regions," Ryder said. "And that will continue to be our focus. We do not seek a wider conflict. With that said, if our people are threatened, we will continue to respond appropriately and proportionately."