Escalating Tensions: US Airstrikes Hit Iranian Militias in Eastern Syria

US airstrikes targeted sites belonging to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-backed militias in the Deir Ezzor region of eastern Syria on Sunday night, according to US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin. The strikes targeted a training facility and a safe house near the cities of al-Bukamal and al-Mayadeen, according to Austin. “The President has no higher priority than the safety of US personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests,” said the defense secretary.

US Central Command (USCENTOM) Commander Gen. Michael Erik Kurilla, referenced the strikes as well on Sunday night, stating “Today, in response to continued provocations by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and their affiliated groups in Iraq and Syria, USCENTOM conducted air strikes against facilities near the cities of al-Bukamal and al-Mayadeen. The United States will continue to defend itself, its personnel, and its interests.” Al-Mayadeen TV, affiliated with Iran’s “Axis of Resistance,” reported that at least one person was killed and another was wounded in a strike near al-Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor. Iranian proxies have a heavy presence in the Deir Ezzor region, located along the Syrian-Iraqi border. A number of crossings are used in the area by Iran to transfer weapons from Iraq to Hezbollah and other proxies in Syria and Lebanon.

Rocket and drone strikes target US forces in Iraq, Syria The strikes on Sunday night came after continued rocket and drone attacks against US forces in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks. Since Hamas launched the war with Israel on October 7, Iranian proxies have escalated their attacks on bases housing US forces throughout the region. Shortly after the strikes on Sunday night, Iranian proxies launched rockets toward a base housing US forces in the al-Omar oil field in eastern Syria, according to Al-Mayadeen TV and local media. According to Al-Mayadeen TV, 15 rockets were fired toward the base in the al-Omar field. Last Wednesday, the US struck a weapons storage facility used by the IRGC and Iran-backed militias in the Deir Ezzor region. The Syrian Sada AlSharqieh news outlet reported that deaths and injuries were caused in the airstrike and that it targeted a site near the Deir Ezzor military airport.