Above photo: Drone strike on Oct. 18, 2023. John Davison/Reuters.
Explosions were reported at a US base in eastern Syria on Sunday.
Attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria have continued through the weekend after the US launched airstrikes in eastern Syria early Friday.
Lebanon’s Al Mayadeen reported that a group calling itself the Islamic Resistance in Iraq said it “successfully” targeted the US’s al-Shadadi base in northeast Syria’s al-Hasakah province on Sunday.
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also reported a drone attack on the al-Shadadi base, saying explosions were heard in the area and smoke columns rose from the base. Al Mayadeen also reported an overnight attack on a US base in Syria’s eastern Deir Ezzor province.
The Sunday attacks have not yet been confirmed by the US military. US officials have confirmed to The Associated Press that a US base in eastern Syria came under attack on Friday after the US launched airstrikes in the area. US officials also confirmed a drone was fired at the Ain al-Assad airbase in western Iraq, which houses US troops and was shot down.
White House National Security Council spokesman John Kirby said Friday that one purpose of the US airstrikes in eastern Syria was to “deter” further attacks on US forces in the region, which has clearly failed.
The US said its airstrikes in eastern Syria targeted “facilities” used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups, referring to Shia militias that operate in the region. The US has not attributed the rocket and drone attacks on US bases to a specific group but is blaming them on Iran, although there’s no evidence Tehran is directing the attacks.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, which has taken credit for several attacks, is a little-known group that’s said to be an umbrella organization that includes Shia militias, but it’s not clear which ones. The Shia militias that operate in the region are generally aligned with Iran, but they are also known to act independently.
A US official recently told CNN that how willing those groups are to act independently is a “persistent intelligence gap” for the US. Regardless, there are signs the US might take the fight directly to Iran if the attacks persist.
The New York Times reported that one message the US was trying to send with its airstrikes on Friday was that “if the attacks on American forces by Iranian proxies escalate, it will force the United States into the kind of overt military confrontation with Iran that both nations have avoided since the Iranian revolution in 1979.”
Before the US launched the airstrikes in Syria, the Pentagon said at least 21 troops were injured in the attacks on US bases in Syria and Iraq that started in response to US support for Israel’s onslaught on Gaza.