The US base at Tanf in eastern Syria on the Iraq border (File)
UPDATE, NOV 7:
A defense official said on Monday that US troops at the Ain al-Asad airbase in Anbar Province in western Iraq and at three bases in Syria have shot down at least six one-way attack drones since Friday.
On Sunday, US troops shot down drones in three attacks targeting the Ain al-Asad airbase and one each targeting separate US bases at al-Tanf and Tal Baydar in Syria, the official said.
UPDATE 0900 GMT:
Iran-led militias are continuing attacks on bases with American personnel, almost two weeks after the US retaliated with strikes on Iranian positions in northeast Syria.
The latest militia attacks were with drones on the al-Tanf base in eastern Syria near the Iraq border.
Two hours ago, TheIranian militias targeted the Al-Tanf base military base near the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle. pic.twitter.com/EwUAt8pb7W
— Omar Abu Layla (@OALD24) November 6, 2023
A local EA source said three drones were intercepted. Two fell close to shepherds and one on or near the base.
The sources said the situation is “terrifying” for long-time residents of the nearby Rukban displaced persons camp.
UPDATE 0920 GMT:
Iran State outlet Press TV is finally referring to the US strike on Iranian positions in northeast Syria.
But it did so only after Hezbollah’s Al-Mayadeen posted a report — and only to highlight subsequent attacks by Iran-backed militias on positions with US personnel.
ORIGINAL ENTRY, OCT 27: Responding to a series of attacks by Iran-backed militias on bases with American personnel, the US has struck Iranian targets in northeast Syria.
US F-16 fighter jets hit a weapons storage facility and an ammunition storage facility used by the militias and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, in Deir ez-Zor Province on the border with Iraq.
Omar Abu Layla, a Europe-based activist in the Deir ez-Zor 24 media outlet, said the first target was in an area known as “The Farms” just outside the town of Mayadeen. The second strike was in the green belt in the Abu Kamal area.
Abu Layla said the farms were an important site for storage and then shipment of weapons brought from Iran and sent to Lebanon’s Hezbollah.
There were no immediate reports of casualties.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the “self-defense strikes” early on Friday were a response to Iran-linked drone and missile attacks on US personnel on bases in Syria and Iraq.
The Pentagon said there have been at least 19 attacks since October 17, incluuding three on Thursday. Twenty-one personnel were injured by drones launched on the al-Asad airbase in western Iraq and the al-Tanf garrison in eastern Syria.
Austin said President Joe Biden ordered the operations “to make clear that the United States will not tolerate such attacks and will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests”. He added, “If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people.”
The assaults on the bases followed mass killings by the Gazan organization Hamas — which is supported by Iran’s regime — inside Israel on October 7 and Israel’s mass killing of people in Gaza with intensive bombing.
“All Necessary Measures to Protect Our Forces”
The Pentagon’s spokesman Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder said Thursday that US action will be “at the time and place of our choosing”: “I think we’ve been crystal clear that we maintain the inherent right of defending our troops and we will take all necessary measures to protect our forces and our interests overseas.”
Austin added, “We continue to urge all state and non-state entities not to take action that would escalate into a broader regional conflict.”
Iran’s regime provides funding, intelligence, and operational guidance to Hamas. Tehran insists that it did not know in advance of the October 7 attacks inside Israel which killed more than 1,400 people, including more than 1,000 civilians.
However, Iranian officials — including the Supreme Leader — have loudly backed the mass killings and said they will escalate the confrontation if the US does not step away from Israel.
Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said at the UN on Thursday that if Israel’s bombing and threatened ground offensive are not halted, the US will “not be spared from this fire”.
On Wednesday, Biden sent a message to Iran’s Supreme Leader cautioning Tehran against the targeting of US personnel throughout the Middle East.
Biden said of the note, “My warning to the ayatollah was that if they continued to move against those troops, we will respond, and they should be prepared.”