US forces conducted precision strikes in eastern Syria against facilities used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-linked groups, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said yesterday.
The strikes targeted a training facility and bunker near the cities of Elbukamal and al-Mayadeen in eastern Syria, Austin said in a statement. He said the strikes were in retaliation for ongoing attacks on US personnel in Iraq and Syria. “The President of the United States (Joe Biden) has no higher priority than the safety of Americans. The President ordered action today to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its people and its interests,” Austin said.
Following the strikes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said in a statement today (Monday) that heavy explosions were heard near the town of al-Mayadeen in the Deir al-Zour countryside in eastern Syria, and that missiles fell on a US base. SOHR said that the sounds of explosions were heard simultaneously with the ongoing fires in the area and the fall of missiles on the al-Omar base in the east of Deir al-Zour, the largest US base in Syria, and so far there is no information on human casualties. On the other hand, SOHR said that “according to preliminary information,” one pro-Iranian militia member was killed and three others were wounded in the US airstrikes on al-Mayadeen and Elbukamal in Deir Ezzor countryside. This number is likely to increase due to the presence of missing persons, he said.
In response to the ongoing Israeli bombardment of the Gaza Strip since October 7, armed groups have recently issued several statements claiming that US bases in the region were targeted. According to information obtained by Asharq al-Awsat, the groups point out that Israel’s attacks on the Gaza Strip are being carried out with direct US support.