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US conducts more strikes in eastern Syria, military says, following continued attacks on forces in region

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The US carried out another set of strikes against targets affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in eastern Syria, according to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin, following continued attacks on US forces in the region.

Austin said the strikes were directed by President Joe Biden and targeted a training facility and a safe house near the cities of Abu Kamal and Mayadin, respectively.

A defense official confirmed Sunday that militia personnel associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) were present at the facilities hit by US air strikes earlier that day. The official said it was unclear, however, how many – if any – of those personnel were killed.

“Initial evaluation of the strikes indicate that U.S. forces successfully destroyed the intended facilities. Additionally, we can confirm the presence of IRGC-related militia personnel, though we’re unable to provide a casualty assessment at this time,” the official said.

The strikes, which took place late Sunday night local time, mark the third time in three weeks that the US has attacked targets in the region, as it holds Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps responsible for repeated rocket and drone launches against facilities housing US troops in Iraq and Syria.

In total, there have been at least 46 attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria since October 17, and at least 56 troops have been injured. Pentagon deputy press secretary Sabrina Singh said Thursday the injuries were a combination of traumatic brain injuries and minor injuries.

“The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests,” Austin said in the statement.

On Wednesday, two US F-15 fighter jets struck a weapons storage facility in eastern Syria in what the Pentagon called a “precision self-defense strike,” as the military tried to send a message of deterrence to Iran while avoiding further escalation in the region.

A senior military official said the facility is believed to have housed weapons used in “many of the airstrikes that have taken place against our forces here in the region.”

And on October 26, the US carried out airstrikes against two facilities in eastern Syria linked to Iran’s IRGC and affiliated groups. The strikes targeted a weapons storage facility and an ammunition storage facility.

The US has attempted to send a message of deterrence to Iran through the strikes and the military presence in the region, including two carrier strike groups and an amphibious ready group, as well as additional air defense systems that have been moved to the Middle East.

But the attacks on US forces in Iraq and Syria have persisted, even as the US has tried to separate the conflict in Gaza from the rest of the region.

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