President Joe Biden warned Iran on Friday that the US would “act forcefully” to protect Americans, following air strikes against Iran-backed forces in retaliation for an attack in Syria.
Later, officials said that another US service member was injured in the latest tit-for-tat battle in Syria between Iran-backed forces and US personnel.
This comes on top of seven casualties on Thursday, which Washington blamed on an Iranian-made drone and included the death of an American contractor as well as the injuries of five US troops and another contractor.
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History of Us – Iran tensions
The United States and Iran have been at odds for decades, with notable events including the 1953 coup that deposed Iran’s democratically elected Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadegh, the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran, and the Iran-Iraq War in the 1980s. Tensions have risen in recent years as a result of disagreements over Iran’s nuclear program, US economic sanctions imposed on Iran, and various incidents in the Persian Gulf region, such as Iran downing a US drone in 2019 and the US assassinating Iranian General Qasem Soleimani in 2020.
What caused the excitation
The U.S. attacks were a retaliation to a drone assault earlier on Thursday on a base in northeastern Syria, close to Hasakah, that was used by a coalition led by the United States to fight the last members of the Islamic State.
Two injured US soldiers were treated at the facility while three military personnel and a contractor needed to be medically evacuated to Iraq. The injured servicemen were listed as stable on Friday, according to the Pentagon.
On the condition of anonymity, two U.S. officials said the base’s defenses appeared to have failed.
According to a security source and the Lebanese pro-Iranian TV channel Al Mayadeen, an attack on a U.S. facility near the Al-Omar oil field in Syria occurred on Friday morning.
After being targeted by airstrikes, Iranian-backed militias frequently launch rockets against US outposts in Syria.
U.S. Marines entered Syria for the first time as part of the Obama administration’s fight against the Islamic State, working alongside the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led organization. The majority of the 900 US soldiers in Syria are located in the east.
Since the start of 2021, Iranian-backed militias have assaulted U.S. forces around 78 times, according to the U.S. military.
Biden in retaliation
The Pentagon reported that F-15 fighter aircraft operating out of al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar carried out retaliatory strikes in Deir el-Zour. According to Austin, the actions were in retaliation for the drone attack as well as “a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria” by Revolutionary Guard-affiliated organizations.
Various reports on the number of people killed and injured as a result of the US attacks. Deir Ezzor 24, an activist news organization that reports on events in the area, said that four people were murdered and several more were injured. 11 Iranian-backed fighters were reportedly killed, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor. Of these, six were killed at an arms depot in the Harabesh neighborhood of Deir el-Zour and five were killed at military outposts close to the towns of Mayadeen and Boukamal.
The Observatory’s director, Rami Abdurrahman, claimed that three rockets were fired earlier on Friday towards the al-Omar oil field in Deir el-Zour, which is home to US forces, in what seems to be revenge for the American strikes.