There have been reports of gunfights going on all night with Iran-backed militias, which has put US soldiers in northeast Syria on high alert. Recently, several rocket launches have targeted the Omar oil field – long held by both US and Kurdish forces, signaling that this is likely the most intense battle involving American soldiers since 2019.
According to The New York Times‘ report published late Friday afternoon, “the conflict in northeast Syria escalated on Friday as Iran-backed militias launched rocket and drone attacks against coalition bases as retribution for American actions after a drone strike that killed an U.S. contractor and injured six other Americans.”
According to the Pentagon, a drone attack at a US facility the night before is what sparked the recent uptick in hostilities. The self-destructive drone that caused rare American casualties was labeled “of “Iranian origin” by US officials.
Later, the White House gave the go-ahead for a number of major airstrikes to be carried out by planes from Qatar. As a result, Iranian forces who help the Syrian Army are said to have been killed or hurt.
While visiting Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in Ottawa, Biden addressed the conflict: “Make no mistake, the United States does not, does not, I emphasize, seek conflict with Iran.” He added: “But be prepared for us to act forcefully to protect our people. That’s exactly what happened last night.”
US sources who spoke to The Times report that the base’s anti-air defenses experienced some malfunctions.
According to two U.S. officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity about this investigation, two U.S. officials stated that the base’s primary air defense system was “not fully operational” at that time, raising questions as to whether attackers had identified this weakness and exploited it or simply happened to send their drone at that moment.
There isn’t much known about possible casualties on either side of the rumored nighttime battle that is currently going on. Politically, the timing is intriguing, given improved relations between Saudi Arabia and Iran, as well as Congressmen’s recent unsuccessful attempt to pressure President Biden to withdraw troops from Syria.
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