U.S. Air Force Airmen unload cargo from a U.S. Air Force C-17A Globemaster III at an undisclosed location within the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility on Tuesday. The Air Force conducts rapid global mobility operations in the region to assist the multinational coalition working to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria. Photo by Master Sgt. Matthew Plew/U.S. Air Force
Aug. 25 (BP) — In response to U.S. airstrikes in Northeastern Syria, militant groups linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps fired rockets at coalition bases that injured three U.S. service members.
U.S. helicopters then returned fire and destroyed three vehicles as well as equipment to launch the rockets. Two of the three people involved in the attack were killed.
“We have a total spectrum of capability to mitigate threats across the region, and we have every confidence in our ability to protect our troops and Coalition partners from attacks,” said Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of US Central Command.
The skirmishes come at a time when the United States is trying to revive the Iran nuclear deal, which is aimed at preventing Tehran from developing nuclear weapons. President Donald J. Trump pulled out of the deal in 2018.
Earlier this week, President Joe Biden ordered airstrikes against the Iranian-backed groups. During that attack warplanes dropped guided bombs on bunkers containing military equipment in Deir al Zour, a city in eastern Syria.
Those attacks were in retaliation for an Aug. 15 rocket attack by Iranian backed fighters that failed to cause any damage at a base in Northeastern Syria.
According to CNN, the U.S. still has about 900 troops in Syria, mostly at the At-Tanf base and in the country’s eastern oil fields.
Colin Kahl, the undersecretary of defense for policy, said that the strikes would not affect negotiations between the two sides on the Iran deal.
“What the strikes last night illustrated is that our commitment to push back against Iran’s support for terrorism, militancy, and the threats that they engage in against our people in the region or elsewhere, are not linked to wherever we end up on the nuclear deal,” Kahl said at an Aug. 24 press conference.
“The strike last night was a pretty clear communication to the Iranians, that these things are on different tracks.”