The United States says it has carried out airstrikes against a weapon storage facility in eastern Syria that was “used by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups,” in retaliation for a growing number of attacks on bases housing US troops in the region.
The strikes, conducted by two U.S. F-15 fighter jets, were in response to the recent attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria by affiliates of the IRGC’s expeditionary Quds Force, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement on November 8.
In the strike, multiple bombs were dropped on a weapons storage facility near Maysulun in Deir el-Zour region, US officials said, adding that they triggered secondary explosions, indicating the presence of weapons.
Austin warned that "if attacks by Iran's proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people."
This was the second time in less than two weeks that US forces have bombed facilities used by the militant groups in Syria. In late October, US officials said that two sites affiliated with the IRGC had been targeted.
US officials say American troops have been attacked at least 40 times in Iraq and Syria by Iran-backed forces since the war between Israel and Palestinian group Hamas erupted on October 7, sparking concern that the conflict could spread through the Middle East,
Forty-five American troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries or minor wounds.
Previously, the US military had occasionally carried out retaliatory strikes against Iranian-backed forces in the region following attacks on American forces.
The United States has 900 troops in Syria and 2,500 more in neighboring Iraq, on a mission to advise and assist local forces trying to prevent a resurgence of Islamic State extremist group.
Two US aircraft carriers and other warships have recently been sent to the region since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict to try to deter the Islamic Republic of Iran and its proxies.