WASHINGTON, US (Caasimada Online) – In a series of recent tit-for-tat missile and drone attacks in Syria, pro-Iranian forces and the United States have clashed, further escalating the conflict in the region.
The Iranian Advisory Committee in Syria issued an online statement on Friday, warning that they possess the “long arm” needed to retaliate against further U.S. airstrikes.
The statement followed a series of U.S. airstrikes targeting Iranian-backed militias in eastern Syria.
These strikes were in response to a suspected Iranian-made drone attack on Thursday. It killed one U.S. contractor, injured another, and wounded five U.S. troops at their base in northeast Syria.
During a state visit to Ottawa, Canada, U.S. President Joe Biden affirmed that the United States does not seek conflict with Iran but is prepared “to act forcefully to protect our people.” He added that this was the motivation behind the previous night’s airstrikes.
Iranian-backed forces target U.S. positions
In retaliation, Iranian-backed groups launched near-coordinated attacks on U.S. positions in eastern Syria on Friday, wounding one U.S. service member.
Charles Lister, director of Syria and Countering Terrorism and Extremism programs at the Middle East Institute, tweeted that these attacks involved Grad rockets and suicide drones, which exposed the inadequacy of U.S. deterrence measures.
Meanwhile, U.S. officials said two simultaneous attacks were launched against U.S. forces in Syria on Friday.
A rocket attack at the Conoco plant injured one U.S. service member. At the same time, several drones targeted Green Village, where U.S. troops are also based.
All but one of the drones were shot down, and there were no reported U.S. injuries at Green Village.
Casualties and damage from the conflict
The U.S. airstrikes, carried out by F-15 fighter jets, targeted three locations in the vicinity of Deir ez-Zour in eastern Syria.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, an opposition war monitor based in the United Kingdom, reported that 11 Iranian-backed fighters were killed in these attacks.
Rami Abdurrahman, head of the Observatory, said three rockets were fired at the al-Omar oil field in Deir ez-Zour, which houses U.S. troops, in apparent retaliation for the U.S. airstrikes.
There were no immediate details on casualties from the new wave of attacks on Friday night in Deir ez-Zour city.
Analysts weigh in on the conflict
Experts offer their perspectives on the escalating conflict as the situation remains tense.
Dareen Khalifa, a seasoned Syria analyst from the International Crisis Group in Brussels, commented that although the reciprocal attacks are happening during a delicate political juncture, she does not foresee a considerable escalation.
She added, “These back-and-forth strikes have persisted for an extended period,” noting that they usually did not result in casualties.
Khalifa also suggested that the Biden administration would not be eager to escalate the conflict in Syria and will likely opt for a measured response.
The recent attacks come at a time when Saudi Arabia and Iran have been working towards reopening embassies in each other’s countries and as Saudi Arabia acknowledges efforts to reopen an embassy in Syria, whose embattled President Iran has backed Bashar al-Assad in his country’s long war.