The United States conducted a new round of precision airstrikes November 12 against facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the IRCG, and its proxies.
As Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement, the strikes were made “in response to continued attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria. [They] were conducted against a training facility and a safe house near the cities of Abu Kamal and Mayadin, respectively.”
It is the third time the United States has conducted such strikes in response to over 40 attacks by the IRGC-affiliated groups on U.S. bases and forces since October 17. Defense Secretary Austin said President Biden ordered the strikes “to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests.”
About 2500 U.S. troops are in Iraq and 900 are in Syria to help local forces secure the enduring defeat of the Islamic State. At least 56 U.S. personnel suffered either traumatic brain injuries or other minor injuries from the recent attacks by IRGC-linked groups. All the injured U.S. forces are reportedly back to work.
Since the savage attack by Hamas terrorists on Israel October 7 and the subsequent operation by Israeli forces into Gaza to dismantle Hamas, tensions have been elevated throughout the region. The United States has repeatedly warned both state and non-state actors not to take advantage of the conflict. To deter a widening of the war, the U.S. has deployed additional air defenses, as well as two aircraft carrier battle groups to the region.
At a recent press briefing, a senior U.S. defense official said that the United States holds Iran accountable for the attacks on U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria. The U.S. strikes on facilities used by the IRGC are being combined, the official said, with “very clear messaging through multiple channels, and the message is to Iranian senior leaders, ‘We want you to direct your proxies and militia groups to stop attacking us.’”
Speaking to reporters during a visit to Seoul November 13, Defense Secretary Austin declare;d, “These attacks must stop, and if they don’t stop, then we won’t hesitate to do what’s necessary … to protect our troops.”