American contractor killed in drone attack on base in Syria

By | March 24, 2023

The New York Times reports:

A U.S. contractor was killed and another contractor and five U.S. service members were injured when a self-destructing drone struck a maintenance facility on a coalition base in northeast Syria on Thursday, the Pentagon said in a statement.

U.S. intelligence analysts concluded that the drone was of “Iranian origin,” according to the Pentagon statement, which said the attack took place near Hasaka at 1:38 p.m. local time.

In response, at President Biden’s direction, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said he ordered airstrikes against facilities in eastern Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or I.R.G.C.

“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 I.R.G.C.,” Mr. Austin said in a statement released late Thursday.

“These precision strikes are intended to protect and defend U.S. personnel,” the statement said. “The United States took proportionate and deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimize casualties.”

United States Air Force F-15E fighter jets attacked a munition warehouse, a control building and an intelligence-collection site, two senior U.S. military officials said.

The U.S. airstrikes killed eight pro-Iran fighters in eastern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group in Britain that tracks the conflict through contacts in Syria. [Continue reading…]