Iranian militia strikes US base 'in response to' Syrian weapons depot attack
Iranian militias attacked a US airbase in Kurdish-controlled areas of northeastern Syria on Friday after US airstrikes that killed almost a dozen Tehran-backed fighters earlier in Deir az-Zour.
The Iranian militiamen reportedly bombed the Al-Omar oil field several times, although no injuries were reported, according to The New Arab’s Arabic-language sister site, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed.
One civilian home was reportedly hit, causing damage to the property.
The Al-Omar field located east of Deir az-Zour, is the largest of its kind and has a significant presence of US military personnel supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) coalition, who lead the battle to push out Islamic State group presence in their territory, in 2019.
The US military is stationed in the country to fight against the remnants of the extremist group, who once occupied Raqqa and Deir az-Zour provinces, along with other parts of northern and eastern Syria.
US forces conducted several strikes in the east of the Syrian governorate in the early hours of Friday, killing 11 Iran-backed fighters and injuring several more, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, as cited by AFP.
The US warplanes targeted several sites reportedly used by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), including the Grain and Rural Development Centre, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed added.
The centre, located in Deir az-Zour's Harabish neighbourhood, is used as a weapons depot by the US-blacklisted Iranian group.
The US airstrikes also targeted fighters in locations close to the deserts of Mayadeen and Al-Bukamal, according to the war monitor.
The strikes further caused the outbreak of a fire in the vicinity, as well as damage.
The US raid was launched in response to a drone attack that killed a US contractor and injured five American personnel and another contractor late on Thursday. The attack is suspected of being "Iranian in origin".
The US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in an official statement: "At the direction of President Biden, I authorized U.S. Central Command forces to conduct precision airstrikes tonight in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)".
"The airstrikes were conducted in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks against Coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the IRGC," he added.
The strikes in Syria come days after Israel struck Aleppo Airport for the second time this month, according to the Syrian defence ministry.
No casualties were reported, though the attack caused material damage to the airport which has served as a conduit for flights carrying aid to Syrian earthquake victims.
In 2018, Syria was the site of a number of US-led strikes against government facilities, in what was described as a response to the devastating chemical attack in the southern city of Douma, when at least 70 people were killed.
The US also struck Syria after the regime sarin nerve gas attack in the opposition village of Khan Sheikhoun.
France and the UK also took part in the strikes, which were condemned by several rights groups.