(Photo credit: US Airforce)
The US occupation base in northeastern Syria’s Al-Omar oilfield was attacked with rockets on 24 March, just hours after the US army bombed several locations in the eastern city of Deir Ezzor on Thursday night.
The US bombing was in response to a drone strike on its base in northeastern Hasakah’s Kharab al-Jir military airport, which killed a US contractor and injured several others, CENTCOM said in a statement on Friday.
“This evening, we responded to an attack on our forces that killed an American contractor and wounded our troops and another American contractor by striking facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps,” CENTCOM said.
“We will always take all necessary measures to defend our people and always respond … We are postured for scalable options in the face of any additional Iranian attacks,” it added.
According to the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), eleven ‘Iranian-backed militiamen’ were killed in the US strikes. SOHR claims that six were killed in strikes on a weapons depot in Deir Ezzor’s Harabish neighborhood, three were killed in strikes on the Al-Bukamal desert, while two were killed by strikes on the southern outskirts of Al-Mayadin town.
SOHR adds that among the wounded are serious injuries, and the death toll is expected to rise.
“Among the dead are two of Syrian nationality,” SOHR says. However, Iranian news outlet Press TV alleged that no Iranians were killed in the strike. Press TV cited local sources as saying that the strike on the Harabish neighborhood was against a rural development and grain center, not a weapons depot, adding that those who were killed were Syrian military forces.
US strikes have targeted and killed Syrian Arab Army (SAA) soldiers several times in the past, including in April 2018 after an alleged chemical attack in Douma that was attributed to the Syrian government.
The last US strike on alleged Iranian targets in Syria took place in 2022 and left a number of Syrian soldiers dead.
The US military occupation in Syria is illegal under international law and constitutes a clear violation of the country’s sovereignty.
As a result of this occupation, as well as the US army’s continuous looting of Syrian natural resources, attacks against Washington’s military bases in Syria have become regular occurrences.
Despite this, the US has shown no intent to end its presence in the country. At the start of the month, a US general illegally visiting Syria referred to the occupation as ‘worth the risk.’