Coalition forces targeted by rockets in northeast Syria: CENTCOM
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – US Central Command (CENTCOM) on Monday confirmed that US-led coalition forces were targeted by rockets in Syria’s Deir ez-Zor province.
A rocket attack targeted coalition forces in northeast Syria. pic.twitter.com/bcfGjEy9Qn— U.S. Central Command (@CENTCOM) April 10, 2023
“An ineffective rocket attack targeted coalition forces at the Mission Support Site Conoco, in northeast Syria, today at 10:51 AM Eastern Standard Time (approximately 5:51 PM local time in Syria).”
“One rocket struck in the vicinity of the Coalition outpost and an additional rocket was found at the attack's point of origin,” the statement said.
U.S. Maj. Gen. Matthew McFarlane, commanding general of Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve (US-led coalition against ISIS), condemned the attack in a separate statement.
"These attacks are reckless and needlessly endanger the people of northeast Syria,” said McFarlane. "This appears to be yet another attempt to detract us from our mission, but we remain firmly committed."
However, US Central Command did not confirm reports by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) that the US shot down a suspected Iranian drone in Syria.
Iran and Iranian proxies have recently stepped up attacks on US troops in Syria.
Testifying before the Senate Armed Services Committee (SASC), on March 16, CENTCOM Commander, Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, suggested that there was a “lack of deterrence against Iran”—that is, Tehran was not inhibited from attacking U.S. targets out of any fear about how the U.S. might respond.
U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told U.S. senators on March 28 that Iran or its proxies have carried out 83 attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East since President Joe Biden took office in 2021. However, he continued, the U.S. only launched four major strikes against the attackers.
Congressional Republicans have also expressed concerns that the current administration does not have a strategy to counter the threats posed by Iran against US forces in the region.
Also on March 24, the Pentagon confirmed that it had responded to an attack on a Coalition base in northeast Syria earlier that day, which killed a U.S. contractor and wounded six others, five of them U.S. troops.
It seems that General Kurilla's assessment about continued Iranian attacks in light of the lack of deterrence by the US has proven accurate.
Iran, on the other hand, has argued that its presence in Syria is legal and at the request of Damascus.
Amir Saeed Iravani, Iran's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, last week reiterated that Tehran will respond firmly to safeguard its military advisers and interests against any risk from the US or other groups, following a series of Israeli airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria.
Retired US army Col. Myles B. Caggins III, a former spokesman for the US-led Coalition in Iraq, and a senior fellow at the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy told Kurdistan 24 in March that “Iran is picking a fight and challenging the United States in Syria.” It’s clear that “Iran wants the United States out of Syria,” he added.
Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Nasser Kanaani, during a weekly press conference on Monday also called for an international response against the US presence in Syria.