A U.S. coalition base in Syria was hit by a suspected Iranian drone on Thursday, resulting in the death of a U.S. contractor and injuries to six Americans.
The base's air defense system was "not fully operational" at the time of the attack, and it is unknown whether the system's status would have made a difference.
U.S. officials are investigating the matter, while other defense systems at the base near Al Hasakah, Syria, were functioning normally but did not prevent the attack, the Daily Wire reported.
In response, the United States conducted a series of airstrikes on facilities belonging to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which supports regional militant groups with training and supplies.
The airstrikes targeted a munition warehouse, a control building, and an intelligence-collection site, resulting in the death of eight militants, according to a group that monitors conflict in Syria.
The Pentagon announced the attack on the U.S.-coalition base and the airstrikes against IRGC-backed facilities on Thursday evening.
“At the direction of President Biden, I authorized U.S. Central Command forces to conduct precision airstrikes tonight in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC),” Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin stated. “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 IRGC.”
“As President Biden has made clear, we will take all necessary measures to defend our people and will always respond at a time and place of our choosing,” he said. “No group will strike our troops with impunity.”
Militants retaliated with a missile attack on a U.S.-coalition base near Al-Omar oil field in Syria on Friday, but no injuries were reported.
The recent violence comes amid Iran's growing influence and aggression in the region, facilitated by China's support and a potential air defense system from Russia.
U.S. forces in Syria remain on high alert for attacks from Iran-backed groups, with an estimated 78 attacks on U.S. troops in the country since 2021.