An official website of the United States Government 
Here's how you know

Official websites use .gov

.gov website belongs to an official government organization in the United States.

Secure .gov websites use HTTPS

A lock ( lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .gov website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh Holds a Press Briefing

DEPUTY PRESS SECRETARY SABRINA SINGH: Hi, everyone. Good afternoon. Thanks for joining us today. Sorry for any confusion just right here at the top for today's briefing format, but I'm happy you could join us over the phone. So thanks for joining. I'll go ahead and get started right now.

So last night at the direction of the president, the United States conducted a targeted strike against one facility in eastern Syria affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, and Iran-aligned militia groups. These actions were taken in response to ongoing threats and attacks directed at U.S. bases in both Syria and Iraq by the IRGC and related groups.

The target was identified as a single-weapon storage facility used by the IRGC and its related groups. U.S. Central Command conducted the strike with two F-15s. We are still conducting the assessment of the strike, but initial analysis indicated multiple secondary explosions after the strike, as we had expected. 

This action was aimed at disrupting and degrading the capabilities of groups directly responsible for attacking U.S. forces in the region. By specifically targeting these associated facilities, we seek to convey a clear message to Iran that we hold it accountable for the attacks on U.S. forces and we expect Iran to take measures to direct its proxies to stop.

Our military actions do not signal a change in our approach to the Israel-Hamas conflict and we have no intentions of escalating this conflict in the region. Our commitment to self-defense and the protection of U.S. personnel remains the same.

And so for an update on just the latest attacks to our troops, between October 17th and November 9th, U.S. and coalition forces have been attacked at least 46 times to date, 24 separate times in Iraq and 22 separate times in Syria by a mix of one-way attack drones and rockets. And in the last 24 hours, we've had three additional minor injuries, but all have returned to duty. In total, there have been 56 people injured. Their injuries are a combination of TBI and other minor injuries. All have returned to duty, including the ones who went to Landstuhl.

Switching gears, Secretary Austin arrived in India today, where he will participate in a 2+2 ministerial meeting tomorrow with Secretary Blinken and their counterparts. He plans on discussing bolstering India's defense modernization plans through the co-development and coproduction of major defense platforms, including by advancing the principles outlined in the Roadmap for U.S.-India Defense Industrial Cooperation. 

From India, he will travel to the Republic of Korea for the 55th annual Security Consultative Meeting and the inaugural ROK-U.N. Command Member States Defense Ministerial Meeting, and then he will go on to Indonesia for the 10th ASEAN Defense Ministers Meeting. This is the secretary's ninth trip to the Indo-Pacific and it comes at a time when the department continues to do more than ever alongside allies and partners to deliver on a shared regional vision of peace, stability and prosperity.

The chairman of the joint chiefs of staff, General CQ Brown, Jr. is also currently on travel in the region. He’s on travel to Japan and then the Republic of Korea. This is his first official visit to the Indo-Pacific region as chairman. He will conduct bilateral meetings with his counterparts, participate in the 48th Republic of Korea and United States Military Committee Meeting, and then will join Secretary Austin for the 55th annual Security Consultative Meeting.

Nearby, performing the duties of deputy under secretary of defense for policy, Dr. Mara Karlin is leading a senior interagency delegation to Australia through next week for a series of high-level trilateral engagements to advance the AUKUS defense and security partnership. The delegation comprises officials from across the Department of Defense, representatives from the National Security Council staff, the Department of State and Department of Energy.

And just two more items here. The department would like to recognize the millions of Americans who have answered the call to serve their country. The 70th annual National Veterans Day observance honoring the men and women who have served and continue to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces during war and peacetime will take place on Saturday, November 11th, 2023 at 11:00 A.M. in the Memorial Amphitheater at Arlington National Cemetery. This event will livestream on our website at, and for more details, please contact Arlington National Cemetery Public Affairs.

And last, finally, a very happy birthday to the United States Marine Corps. Tomorrow marks of 248th birthday of the service. The department joins the secretary of the Navy, Del Toro, in wishing the more than 200,000 currently-serving Marines and the hundreds of thousands Marines who have returned to civilian life a happy birthday and a recognition of their storied history. So a happy birthday to all Marines, and Semper Fi.

And with that, I'd be happy to take your questions. First up, we'll go to Lita, A.P.

Q:  Hey, thanks, Sabrina. Two quick things on some of the numbers you mentioned. First, do you know, of the three injuries from yesterday, were those TBI or some type of other minor injury? And do you have any battle damage assessment on the site that was struck? Was it, can we say, destroyed, totally destroyed -- anything like that? And then I have one other question.

MS. SINGH: Sure. Lita, on the three that were injured yesterday, I believe two were TBI and one was a non-serious, non-critical injury.

And I'm sorry - your second question was on the MQ-9. Can you repeat that please?

Q: It was on the strike yesterday. Do you have any assessment on whether this warehouse was totally destroyed or partially destroyed or civilians killed? Any BDA on that?

MS. SINGH: Sure. We don't have a full BDA yet, we're still doing our assessment, but we believe that, in our initial assessment as of last night, that the strike was successful and that we were able to render that building pretty much non-usable.

Q: Thanks. So just one Ukraine question, oddly.

MS. SINGH: Sure.

Q: Can you address the ongoing concerns about funding for Ukraine, particularly the replenishment money? Is it about $1.1 billion that remains? And is this having any impact at this moment on the actual fight in Ukraine? Thanks.

MS. SINGH: Sure. Thanks, Lita, and not at all an odd question because it's incredibly important to talk about Ukraine in the context of the ongoing budget conversations that are happening on the Hill and of course all in the context of funding running out at the end of the week next week.

So as you know, we proposed a package - a supplemental package in support of Ukraine, Israel, and global humanitarian assistance and also the Indo-Pacific, and really, by the day, the urgent need for this package to get approved and passed by Congress continues to grow, and that's because since Congress did not pass our initial supplemental request in August. We have been forced to meter out our support to Ukraine.

So just to give you some numbers here, we've used 95 percent of the initial $62.3 billion that we had in Ukraine supplemental resources, and that initial supplemental was from early on in - when Russia invaded - or went into Ukraine in February 2022. 

We've used up all of our USAI funding. And so we only have $1 billion left in existing resources to back fill U.S. stocks. We still do have a small amount of PDA left, but as you've seen, our packages have been getting smaller because we have had to meter out our support for Ukraine.

In terms of battlefield impacts, look, we're continuing to flow support to Ukraine. We just had a Contact Group last month. We are going to have another Ukraine Defense Contact Group in mid-November. Allies and partners are continuing to support Ukraine, we are continuing to support Ukraine in what they need in their fight. You saw a package that we rolled out last week. We're going to continue to roll out packages, they just are getting smaller. 

So we really implore Congress to pass the supplemental request that the President sent up so that we can continue to meet Ukraine's battlefield needs. 

Great. Lara, Politico?

Q: Hi, Sabrina. Thanks for doing this. A couple things to follow up on. You said that in total, there have been 56 service members injured during the strikes ... 


Q: ... and that's quite a lot more than the 46 we were told on Monday, and that's more than just the three more that you announced today. So when did those additional injuries occur? And how many of those were after the October 26th strikes?

MS. SINGH: Hey, Lara, appreciate the question. So again, we've been very clear from the beginning that these numbers are going to continue to grow, or can potentially continue to grow, as our service members do return to work and then a few days later experience symptoms and then self-report in.

In terms of when the actual injuries occurred, most of them occurred before the October 26th self-defense strike that we took. I think most of the injuries actually I don't want to give a percentage but a majority of the injuries are from those initial two attacks on October 17th and October 18th - sorry, not two - initial two days, I should say. There were three injuries that were reported in the last 24 hours. Again, all of our service members have returned to duty, including the ones that went to Landstuhl.

So I just want to emphasize that we will see this number fluctuate. That is not something new. We've been very clear, when we do get more numbers in of service members who self-report any symptoms, that we would continue to update. So that's the latest update that I have.

Q: And just to clarify though, are those three the only ones that occurred after the 26th or were there more that occurred after the 26th?

And then I have a separate question.

MS. SINGH: That's as of right now, Lara, that's what I'm tracking, that the three - that the initial tranche of injuries were all before the 26th and these three that I just read out at the top came in the last 24 hours.

Q: OK. And then separately ... 

MS. SINGH: And you had another question?

Q: Yes.

MS. SINGH: Sure.

Q: We heard yesterday from defense officials that the Houthi rebels have shot down a U.S. MQ-9. Can you confirm on the record that that occurred? And what is the assessment of whether that is - of what the - what the damage is there, in terms of, you know, how much money that cost?

MS. SINGH: Well, I don't have a cost estimate for you, but yes, I can confirm that the Houthis did shoot down one of our MQ-9s just off the coast of Yemen yesterday.

And I'm sorry, did you have another question on that that I missed?

Q: Nope, that's all. Thank you.

MS. SINGH: OK, great. Thank you.

Next question will go to Jeff Schogol, Task & Purpose.

Q: Thank you very much. There's video that purportedly shows a fire at a base in - near Erbil that hosts U.S. troops. Can you talk about these most recent attacks? Did they cause any significant damage that would cause a fire at any military installations? And can you also confirm there have been four more attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria since last night's airstrike?

MS. SINGH: Thanks, Jeff. I can confirm that there have been the four additional attacks since the U.S. military took our self-defense strike last night. That's correct - one in Iraq and - and three in Syria.

I've seen the reporting on the alleged fire at Erbil. I'm not seeing any reports of that internally here, I don't see any indications that that is accurate. And again, on all the attacks that have been launched at our forces at bases, we're not seeing - or at least the - the most recent ones - we're not seeing any damage to infrastructure in any way.

Q: And what is the latest number of troops with TBI? Thank you.

MS. SINGH: Sure. I believe I said that earlier, but it is 25 of our servicemembers have been diagnosed with TBI, and then the rest are, again, non-life-threatening injuries, not serious injuries. So just want to make that very clear.

OK. Next up, we'll go to Chris Gordon, Air & Space Magazine.

Q: Hi. Thanks, Sabrina. U.S. officials have said the airstrikes are proportional. The senior officials have also told us the militia groups are conducting these attacks on very large numbers of U.S. personnel with the intent on killing them. However, U.S. officials have also said the U.S. is trying to have minimal casualties in its airstrikes. So if the militias are trying to maximize casualties and have inflicted over 50, why is the U.S. trying to minimize casualties? If the militia groups know the U.S. wants minimal casualties and they will likely not be physically harmed, how is that a sufficient deterrent?

MS. SINGH: Yeah, thanks, Chris, for the question. So again, thankfully, none of our troops have been injured seriously and our infrastructure at the bases that have been targeted, we have not experienced significant damages. These attacks have been, for the majority, unsuccessful.

And so when we chose to hit back at the -- the strike on the October 26th, and then again last night, our response was very precise, it was strategic and it hit a weapons ammunition depot that we believe was very successful. And so we are minimizing what these groups are able to use, the capabilities that they are able to use, and we believe and we feel that these are proportionate responses. 

And again, we do not want to see this conflict of what's happening in Israel and with Hamas widen out to the region. We are going to continue to message both publicly and privately that, you know, for any actor that wants to seek to take advantage of this conflict that they don't. And so that's why you're seeing these self-defense strikes that the United States took last night and again two weeks ago.

Q: If I can just...


Q: Can I just follow up quickly on that?

MS. SINGH: Sure.

Q: If these strikes have destroyed materiel used against the U.S. but the groups are being supplied by Iran, are you destroying enough of their capabilities to degrade them, or could they just get more from Iran?

MS. SINGH: Well, again, we know that Iran continues to arm, equip, train, support and financially support these groups, so I can't, look into the future here, but we're continuing to assess the success of these strikes and of course, the protection and safety of our troops is a priority for not only the president, but for the secretary. And so if we feel that we need to strike again at a time and place of our choosing, we absolutely will.

Q: Thank you.

MS. SINGH: OK. Moving on, Idrees, Reuters?

Q: (inaudible) that there've been attempts to directly tell the Iranians...

MS. SINGH: Sorry, hey, Idrees? Can you start over? Because you're...

Q: OK. Can you hear me now?

MS. SINGH: I can hear you, yup.

Q: OK. Yesterday, a senior defense official told reporters that there've been attempts to directly contact the Iranians and tell them to rein in their militia. Could you give us some more information on what attempt there have been (sic) to talk to the Iranians directly about the cycle of escalation?

MS. SINGH: Thanks, Idrees. So I'm not going to get into more specifics other than that we have, of course, ways to communicate our message to Iran and Iran proxy groups. I think you're seeing that we did that very overtly yesterday with our strike on one of their facilities, or one of the facilities that these IRGC-backed groups use and have been using to attack our forces. But again, I'm not going to get into more specifics beyond that. I will just say that we can it both publicly and privately, and I think we've been very clear in our messaging.

Q: So like, just to follow up, have they responded to that privately?

MS. SINGH: I'm not going to get into any more detail than that. Thanks, Idrees.

Jeff Selden, VOA?

Q: Thanks very much for doing this. Given that since the airstrike yesterday, there've been four more confirmed drone or rocket attacks on U.S. forces, what does the Pentagon make of how these Iranian-backed militias are responding to the self-defense strikes, the U.S. deterrence? And why not increase the number or intensity of U.S. strikes to send a stronger message?

And then separately on the Houthis shooting down the MQ-9 drone, does the Pentagon assess that the Houthis got lucky, or is this indicative of their military capabilities? And if so, does the Pentagon assess that other Iranian proxies are capable of duplicating that type of success that the Houthis had the other day?

MS. SINGH: Thanks, Jeff, for the question. So I think it's important to remember that this is not the first time that the Houthis have shot down one of our MQ-9 drones before, so in terms of capabilities, I'm not going to get into that. But I just want to level-set that. 

And I think just on your earlier question -- and I'm paraphrasing here -- you were asking about sort of getting to the question of, if there are more attacks, like, is deterrence working? Is that correct?

Q: Yeah, and what does the Pentagon make of the response that they're seeing right now with the additional attacks coming despite the self-defense strikes?

MS. SINGH: OK, thanks, Jeff. So let me just say first and foremost that we're always going to protect our troops and our citizens in the region. As you have highlighted and I have highlighted as well, our personnel have come under repeated attacks by these Iranian-backed militia groups, and we have made it very clear that these attacks must stop. 

And so as you know, we did take action last night. If these attacks continue against our personnel, we won't hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people and to do so at a time and place of our choosing.

OK, next question, I'll go to Courtney Kube, NBC.

Q: Hi, thanks. I don't understand the numbers of 25 diagnosed, but the number of injured is up to I'm sorry, diagnosed with TBI or possible TBI, but the number of injured is 56 because -- so last we heard, it was 46. We know there were three more injuries in one of the strikes in Syria -- attacks in Syria. So it would seem to me that the additional injuries that came forward, if they were from attacks that we previously knew about would have most likely been TBI. So how has the number of TBI not gone up as well? Does that make...

MS. SINGH: So again, Courtney, these are forces on the ground are self-reporting these their conditions. Right now, what has been reported up here to us is that - and what I can tell you is that what we assess is 25 of our forces - of our troop members have been diagnosed with TBI. The other additional injuries are very minor. I mean, we're tracking, like, headache, rolled ankle, cuts, but - but that is it. All have returned to duty.

We are giving you and trying to be as transparent as possible when we get the information of when our own service members report into us on the - on their own symptoms. So a majority of these injuries are TBI, and we can expect that that number could continue to grow as service members report.

In terms of the the injuries that were reported in the last 24 hours, as I said, I think those were two TBI cases and one just a minor injury. I think the most important thing here is I know we want to get caught up in the numbers but it is really important to remember that all of our service members that reported these very minor injuries have all returned to duty.

Q: OK. And then one other thing on that. Did you say - I'm sorry, I missed a minute of this - but did you say any more about casualties in the airstrike last night, if there's - been determined that there were any personnel that might have been injured or killed inside the building last night? Thanks.

MS. SINGHI didn't but I don't think that was asked, and I'm sorry if I missed that, but we are still assessing, but as of right now, we are not assessing that there were any casualties. Should that change, we would of course update you, but at the moment, we're not seeing that there were any casualties.

Q: Thanks. Also, I would just put in my plea for video from the strike last night and from the strikes two weeks ago, any video you guys can share.

MS. SINGH: OK, got it. 

Jared, Al-Monitor?

Q: Hi, Sabrina. Thanks for doing this. I want to talk about this MQ-9 shoot down near Yemen. I just wanted to get clarification here, if I heard correctly. Has the U.S. ruled out a potential military response to this against Houthi personnel or assets?

MS. SINGH: Thanks, Jared, for the question. I'm not going to get ahead of any decisions that the Secretary or the President might make.

Q: Thanks. And if I can ask a second one, the former Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz commented on Twitter about this - it was a report that's out there about these photo journalists who are alleged to have been documenting Hamas's October 7th attack, seeming to suggest - Benny Gantz suggested that that they may be targeted. 

Given, I mean, there have been 39 journalists at least so far who have been killed in this conflict, does the United States consider journalists to be legitimate targets under any circumstances under the law of war?

MS. SINGH: Thanks, Jared. Of course not. I haven't seen the video or imagery that you're referencing, so I can't really comment on that. I just haven't seen it. Again, of course the United States supports freedom of the press is incredibly important when it comes to covering any conflict and of course are protected under the laws of war. I'm sorry, I just don't have more details on what you're referencing, but of course journalists covering a conflict on the ground of course would be protected and - are protected not only under the laws of war but humanitarian laws.

OK, I'm going to go to - next up, Jennifer Griffin, Fox.

Q: Hey. Thanks for doing this. Hi. So no injuries at the base. Can you give - I mean at the warehouse. Can you give a scale of how many weapons were stored at the warehouse, what kind? I mean, was this just an empty warehouse in the middle of nowhere? What is the scale of what you took out last night?

MS. SINGH: Thanks, Jen, for the question. So in terms of the scale, you know, we know that there were secondary explosions, we know that the facility was significantly damaged, but we're still doing our analysis and assessment. So I can't really give you more than that.

And in terms of weapons stored there, we know it was a combination of many different types. I'm just not going to go into the full list. But we know that this facility has been and was being used by IRGC militias to attack our forces. And so we feel confident that we were able to degrade their capabilities of - of continuing attacks, at least with using those materials from that facility.

Q: But would you say, Sabrina, that this is one of the main warehouses used? How many others are there like it? I mean, what is the sort of scale of what you destroyed?

MS. SINGH: Yeah, you know, I'm hesitant to just signify the types of facility and where all are the other ones are used. I would just say that we feel confident that we were able to significantly degrade these groups' use of this particular facility.

And again, I'll repeat myself, but we've been very clear, if these attacks continue against our personnel, we won't hesitate, at a time and place of our choosing, to respond again.

Luis Martinez, ABC? Luis, you there? OK, nothing heard. Fadi, Al Jazeera?

Q: Thank you, Sabrina. I have two questions on the attacks on U.S. forces, and if I may, one on the drone in Yemen.

So in light of the continuous attacks on U.S. forces after this strike, does the Pentagon anticipate more attacks on U.S. forces in the coming days? This is the first one.

My second question is can you highlight any impact from these strikes on Syria - U.S. strikes on Syria, in terms of impact on the safety and protection of U.S. forces? Is there any positive outcome so far?

And on Yemen, in terms of potential wreckage from this UAV, did it fall in Yemen or in the Red Sea? And was the U.S. Navy able to retrieve any of that potential wreckage? Thank you very much.

MS. SINGH: OK, thanks, Fadi. And I might have to ask you to repeat some of your questions cause I tried to write them down as quickly as possible but I don't know that I got everything.

So in terms of the recovery of the MQ-9, the Houthis shot down the MQ-9 off the coast of Yemen. It landed in the Red Sea. We know that there was an attempt by Houthis to try and recover the MQ-9 but it is unlikely that they will be able to retrieve anything of significance, and we are not right now looking to recover anything either. So I'll just leave it at that.

In terms of your - I think your second question was on do we feel as if U.S. forces are ... 


Q: Yeah, I can ask those two questions. So my - the first one - in light of the further attacks after the strike in Syria, do you anticipate more attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria in the coming days? That's the one question.

And the second one is can you highlight any impact from these strikes on the protection and safety of U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria? 

And thanks again for taking my questions, Sabrina.

MS. SINGH: Yeah. Thanks, Fadi, and thanks for repeating the questions. Apologies.

So in terms of anticipating further attacks, I think that's going to be hard for me to do. As I mentioned, since our strike last night, we did see four additional attacks against our - our troops at varying bases in Iraq and Syria. 

But you know, I can't predict what other attacks could be coming. All I can say is that of course we are always going to be prioritizing the - the safety and wellbeing of our - our service members and, you know, we'll continue to monitor as - if - if and when these attacks happen.

In terms of the importance of the strikes, I think it is important to remember that even though these groups continue to be funded and supported and trained and equipped by Iran, we degraded significant facilities that they use. 

And so while you might see these attacks continuing, it's important to remember that our mission in Syria and Iraq is to defeat ISIS. And Iran has made it very clear that they do not want a U.S. presence in these countries, they do not want a U.S. presence in the region, but we continue to be there at the invitation of other governments and working with coalition partners in our mission to defeat ISIS.

And I think, just taking a step back, cause I know we've been getting a lot of questions - are these strikes working - look, we want to make sure that we can contain this conflict to Israel and Hamas. We are not and have not seen this conflict widen beyond that region - or beyond Israel.

So I think it's important to remember that we are sending a message. I think the messages have been received. And look, if any attacks continue on our service members and we feel the need to respond, we will at a time and place of our choosing.

I will take just two more here. Heather Mongilio, USNI?

Q: Hi, thank you so much. Just another question - you have a carrier strike group in the Eastern Med, a carrier strike group in the Red Sea, as well as a number of other ships, all there to try to deter Iran and Hezbollah from getting involved, but we seem to see all these strikes against U.S. forces. So are these ships being - and these troops being successful in deterrence? Do we think we need a different approach in the - the Red Sea and Eastern Mediterranean?

MS. SINGH: Thanks, Heather. Well, I think I kind of answered this, but look, in terms of deterrence overall, our goal is to make sure that the conflict that's in Gaza doesn't expand and does not become a region-wide conflict.

And so to this point, we don't think that's happened and we are going to do everything in our power to make sure that that doesn't happen, and that's why you're seeing these assets where they are, because they are sending a very clear message to the region.

And while we are responding to a number of attacks against our forces, again, these are defensive strikes, they are not connected to what's happening, or what Israel is doing in its efforts against Hamas. 

So overall, our goal in the region is to not see this widen into a larger conflict, and I think we have been largely successful at that.

Our last question will go to Tom Squitieri.

Q: Thank you. Good afternoon, Sabrina. Secretary Austin's last stop on his trip is in Indonesia for the minister conference there. What's the Pentagon's assessment of who may be in the Chinese delegation that would also be there, please? Thanks.

MS. SINGH: Yeah, thanks, Tom. You know, in terms of who's leading the PRC's delegation, I don't have more for you on that. I would have to direct you to the PRC to ... 

Q: No, don't ask me to call them.



... too busy with the pandas.

MS. SINGH: So yeah, I don't have more for you on that. Look, we would welcome a conversation if there is one to be had and if there's an opportunity that presents itself. I don't have anything to read out at this moment. And so for anything regarding the PRC's delegation, I would really direct you to them.

Q: Thank you.

MS. SINGH: All right. Thanks, everyone. Have a good afternoon.