The US military said today it had killed four members of armed groups linked to Iran in eastern Syria in response to rockets fired by those groups, injuring several US soldiers in the area.
“Over the past 24 hours, in response to yesterday’s rocket attacks at the Conoco and Green Village sites, US forces engaged paramilitaries linked to Iran, the US Army’s Central Middle East Command (Centcom) said in a statement.
US forces used AH-64 Apache helicopters, AC-130 jets and M777 heavy artillery. “Four enemy fighters were killed and seven rocket launchers were destroyed,” Centcom added.
American forces and pro-Iranian organizations have been exchanging fire in this area for the third consecutive day. On Tuesday, the US said it had bombed bases of pro-Iranian fighters in eastern Syria. The target was nine bunkers used as ammunition depots. The Americans initially wanted to bomb 11 of the 13 shelters in this complex but stopped the operation when they spotted groups of people nearby.
Iran denies any links to the armed groups targeted in Syria.
On Wednesday night the US military said it had launched a new retaliatory strike during which three vehicles and equipment used to launch rockets were destroyed. Initially, Centcom said that based on initial estimates, “two or three people” were killed, Iranian-backed fighters who had launched an attack against the Americans. He also confirmed that the US had targeted “infrastructure used by groups linked to the Revolutionary Guards”.
Today, US forces spotted a group of fighters equipped with a rocket launcher approaching their positions and hit them before the pro-Iranians could launch an attack, an official said on condition of anonymity.
“We respond in an appropriate and proportionate manner to any attack against our soldiers,” said the new commander of US forces in the region, General Eric Kurila. “No group will attack us and go unpunished. We are taking all necessary measures to defend our own,” he added.