Biden orders retaliation after US contractor killed, US troops wounded by Iranian drone strike in Syria

While many Americans may be surprised to learn that the United States still has troops in Syria, a strike by what is suspected to have been an Iranian-made drone that killed a U.S. contractor and wounded five American troops is pushing that fact onto front pages.

The drone struck a maintenance facility within a military base near Hasakah, a city in northeastern Syria, according to The Washington Post.

Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that President Biden ordered a retaliatory strike, which was carried out by U.S. forces in the region “against facilities affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, an elite Iranian force that has targeted U.S. troops stationed in the Middle East on and off for years,” the newspaper reported.

Eleven “pro-Iran fighters” were killed in the “precision airstrikes” carried out Thursday by F-15 fighter jets, according to the Daily Mail.

Austin said the airstrikes against the IRGC, a wing of the Iranian military which is blacklisted as a terrorist group by the US, were carried out by F-15 fighter jets.

“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,” Austin said. “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. No group will strike our troops with impunity.”

Biden has maintained a force of about 900 U.S. troops in Syria and 2,500 in neighboring Iraq, along with hundreds of supporting contractors, the Post noted, despite a pledge to end American “forever wars.”

Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, head of U.S. Central Command, oversees all American military activity in the region and he told the House Armed Services Committee that there have been 78 Iranian attacks on U.S. positions in Syria since January 2021, according to the Post. The general told the committee that Iran has the largest and most capable unmanned aerial force in the region and has the largest and most diverse missile arsenal in the Middle East.

“The advancement of Iranian military capabilities over the past 40 years is unparalleled in the region; in fact, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of today is unrecognizable from just five years ago,” Kurilla said.

Here’s a quick sampling of responses to the story from Twitter that centered around a simple theme — why is the U.S. still in Syria:

Tom Tillison


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