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Syria: Iranian drone kills U.S. contractor



Why do we still have troops in Syria? What is their purpose, other than to line the pockets of the military-industrial complex?

“American Contractor Killed in Drone Attack on Base in Syria,” by Eric Schmitt, New York Times, March 23, 2023:

WASHINGTON — A U.S. contractor was killed and another contractor and five U.S. service members were injured when a self-destructing drone struck a maintenance facility on a coalition base in northeast Syria on Thursday, the Pentagon said in a statement.

U.S. intelligence analysts concluded that the drone was of “Iranian origin,” according to the Pentagon statement, which said the attack took place near Hasaka at 1:38 p.m. local time.

In response, at President Biden’s direction, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said he ordered airstrikes against facilities in eastern Syria used by groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, or I.R.G.C.

“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 I.R.G.C.,” Mr. Austin said in a statement released late Thursday.

“These precision strikes are intended to protect and defend U.S. personnel,” the statement said. “The United States took proportionate and deliberate action intended to limit the risk of escalation and minimize casualties.”

United States Air Force F-15E fighter jets attacked a munition warehouse, a control building and an intelligence-collection site, two senior U.S. military officials said.

The U.S. airstrikes killed eight pro-Iran fighters in eastern Syria, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a group in Britain that tracks the conflict through contacts in Syria.

Rami Abdurrahman, its director, said on Friday that the strikes had targeted a weapons depot in the city of Deir Ezzor, killing six fighters, and that two other fighters had been killed by strikes in the desert of Mayadeen and near the town of Bukamal. A United States official confirmed the locations of the American retaliatory strikes, but not the casualty reports.

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

The attacks are likely to stoke tensions with Iran, which Biden administration officials call the largest security threat in the Middle East.

“Iran’s vast and deeply resourced proxy forces spread instability throughout the region and threaten our regional partners,” Gen. Michael E. Kurilla, the head of the military’s Central Command, said in testimony to the House Armed Services Committee earlier on Thursday….