In a press briefing, the Department of Defense revealed that since Oct. 17, American forces stationed in Iraq and Syria have seen 55 attacks against them – 27 against forces in Iraq and 28 in Syria.
"We are also tracking 59 U.S. personnel who have received injuries in the TBI [traumatic brain injury] or non-serious categories since these attacks began," said the Pentagon. "Approximately 27 personnel have been evaluated for TBI and 32 for other non-serious injuries."
In a press briefing on Nov. 15, Deputy Pentagon Press Secretary Sabrina Singh revealed that they had seen these kinds of attacks even before the Hamas attack on Israel on Oct. 7. Meaning, the attacks on U.S. troops are separate from the Israel-Hamas conflict, even though Hamas and the militias in Iraq and Syria are supported by Iran. Instead, Singh claimed that the attacks were a direct result of Iran's disapproval of the presence of U.S. forces in the region.
Furthermore, Singh clarified that the presence of 2,000 U.S. troops in Iraq and 900 in Syria is operating under an agreement with the Baghdad government to defeat ISIS, support forces in Syria, and maintain influence in the region. However, the Biden Administration has moved more warships, fighter jets, air defense systems and troops into the Middle East since the Oct. 7 Hamas attack to avoid escalation of the Israel-Hamas war.
As a response to the series of attacks, the U.S. retaliated by destroying weapons and ammunition storage facilities in Syria, directly targeting Iranian Revolutionary Guard sites, to influence Tehran and pressure the militia groups supported by Iran to stop their attacks. The Pentagon also argues that Iran-linked militias store their weapons and plan attacks on these sites.
For instance, American fighter jets hit two places in Syria near Boukmal on Oct. 27, where Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iranian-supported groups stored weapons and ammo. Then, on Nov. 8, more jets bombed a weapons storage spot near Maysulun in Deir el-Zour. On Nov. 12, U.S. airstrikes targeted a training facility and a safe house in the Bulbul district of Mayadin.
Although there were no reported casualties, the Pentagon claimed that the accuracy of their airstrikes had debilitated the Syrian military supplies and destroyed their sites. In short, the damages weaken the ability of the insurgents to carry out attacks. Now, given the damages, they believe Iran is getting the message to stop the attacks by their proxy forces.
Aside from the response attack, U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken also talked to al-Sudani and told him that there would be consequences if militias supported by Iran kept attacking U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria. (Related: Repeated attacks by Iranian-backed militants on U.S. troops in the Middle East increase tension between Washington and Tehran.)
Follow WWIII.news for more news about the ongoing conflict in the Middle East.
Watch this clip of Sen. Lindsey Graham threatening to "blow up" Iranian oil supplies if Tehran is drawn into the conflict with Israel.