Pentagon: Iran-backed militants attack U.S. base in Syria

Pentagon: Iran-backed militants attack U.S. base in Syria

Iran-backed militants launched a rocket attack on two U.S. military installations in northeast Syria late Wednesday, injuring three American service members, Pentagon officials said.

U.S. Central Command said that rockets landed along the perimeter of Mission Support Site Conoco just after 7 p.m. local time. Shortly after, more rockets landed near Mission Support Site Green Village. Both sites in northeastern Syria are home to U.S. troops.

American forces responded to the assaults with attack helicopters, officials said, and carried out a “proportional and deliberate” response that killed several militants.

One U.S. service member was treated for minor injuries and has already returned to duty, officials said. Two others are under evaluation for minor injuries.

“We are closely monitoring the situation,” CENTCOM Commander Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla said in a statement. “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.”

At least two Iran-backed militants were killed by U.S. troops during the fight, officials said, and some of their equipment was destroyed.

Wednesday’s attack came less than 24 hours after U.S. airstrikes targeted facilities in Syria used by extremist militias linked directly to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Those strikes Tuesday in Deir ez-Zor, Syria, were themselves a direct response to a rocket attack last week that targeted American troops in Syria.

The escalating back-and-forth combat between U.S. troops and Iran-backed militant groups in Syria hasn’t slowed the Biden administration’s diplomatic engagement with Iran. 

The administration is trying to revive the Obama-era Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a multilateral deal that limited Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for economic sanctions relief.

The administration is facing growing criticism for pressing ahead with negotiations despite the continued targeting of Americans by Iran-linked militias.