Drone attack on US base in Syria kills six allied Kurdish fighters as Iran-backed militias respond to American strikes and Islamic Resistance in Iraq claims responsibility

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said Monday the attack hit a training ground at al-Omar base in Syria´s eastern province of Deir el-Zour 

An Iranian-backed militia in Syria says its fighters are responsible for a deadly attack on a base that houses US troops in the eastern part of the country, the first since Biden approved a plan to target groups that are supported by Tehran  in the Middle East. 

The U.S.-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces said Monday the attack hit a training ground at al-Omar base in Syria´s eastern province of Deir el-Zour, where the forces’ commando units are trained. No casualties were reported among U.S. troops.

This new escalation of hostilities comes as Secretary of State Antony Blinken is en route to the region, his fifth visit since Hamas’ brutal assault on Israel on October 7.  

An umbrella group of Iran-backed Iraqi militias, dubbed the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, released a video claiming responsibility for the attack and showing them launching a drone from an unspecified location.

In late January, a drone attack by the same group killed three U.S. troops and wounded dozens more at a desert base in Jordan. The U.S. military launched dozens of retaliatory strikes targeting Iran-backed militant groups in western Iraq and eastern Syria and also struck the Houthis in Yemen.

 

This photo issued by the Ministry of Defence (MOD) on Sunday. Feb. 4, 2024 shows a RAF Typhoon FGR4 aircraft returning to the base in Cyprus, following strikes against Houthi targets in Yemen

The SDF initially accused ‘Syrian regime-backed mercenaries’ of carrying out Sunday’s attack but in a second statement blamed ‘Iran-backed militias’ after investigating the attack. 

The umbrella group has launched dozens of drone attacks on U.S. military bases and troops in Iraq and Syria, and has called for the withdrawal of American soldiers from both countries.

Rights said at least seven SDF fighters were killed in the attack on Sunday and at least 18 others wounded, some in critical condition.

The attack late Sunday came two days after the U.S. military carried out strikes against militant targets linked to Iran in Syria and Iraq.

The SDF said it has the right to respond to the attack.

The U.S. military said it struck four anti-ship missiles on Sunday that were prepared to be fired at vessels in the Red Sea from Houthi rebel-controlled areas in Yemen.

In a statement early Monday, the U.S. Central Command said the strikes were in self-defense and came after forces determined the missiles “presented an imminent threat to U.S. Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region.”

Sunday´s strikes came a day after the U.S. and Britain launched a second wave of strikes against the Houthis, meant to degrade the Iranian-backed group´ capabilities to attack vessels in the Red Sea. The U.S. and Britain said they hit 36 Houthi targets.

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