Al-Tanf garrison in southeast Syria, where U.S. troops are based, was a target of drone attacks on Oct. 19, 2023, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a report.

Al-Tanf garrison in southeast Syria, where U.S. troops are based, was a target of drone attacks on Oct. 19, 2023, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said in a report. (Noga Ami-rav/Stars and Stripes)

WASHINGTON — Drone attacks targeted American troops in the Middle East for the second day in a row Thursday, two U.S. officials told The Associated Press.

One drone was shot down, but another caused minor injuries, said one of the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the matter before an official announcement about the incident.

The attacks follow similar drone strikes over the past few days against U.S. and coalition bases in Iraq amid simmering anger in the region after an explosion at a Gaza hospital killed hundreds of people.

The al-Tanf garrison in southeastern Syria is at a sensitive juncture often used by Iranian-backed militants to ferry weapons to Hezbollah.

In its report on the al-Tanf attack, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said Iran-backed militants launched three one-way attack drones in an early morning strike on the al-Tanf garrison. The report did not specify the group responsible.

The attacks resulted in no injuries, and the drones were shot down, the Syrian opposition group based in Britain said.

Iranian-backed militias are said to be planning attacks on U.S. forces in the Middle East under the slogan of “Revenge for Gaza,” the report said.

Syrian opposition activists also said Thursday a drone attack was conducted on an oil facility in eastern Syria that houses American troops.

Omar Abu Layla, a Europe-based activist who heads the Deir Ezzor 24 media outlet, said three drones with explosives struck the Conoco gas field in the eastern province of Deir el-Zour that borders Iraq.

The reports followed two attacks Wednesday aimed at U.S. troops in western Iraq that used one-way attack drones, which are cheap unmanned aircraft with explosive payloads.

U.S. troops at al Asad Air Base were attacked by drones early Wednesday morning, with air defenses destroying one and damaging the other, the U.S. military said in a statement.

Another drone was destroyed in an attack in northern Iraq the same day, U.S. defense officials said.

The two attacks left an unknown number of U.S. and coalition forces with minor injuries, CENTCOM said.

An Iranian-backed militia in Iraq said Wednesday it had launched a drone attack on al-Harir air base in Irbil province in northern Iraq, The Associated Press reported.

About 900 American service members are in Syria as part of joint efforts with Kurdish fighters to prevent an ISIS resurgence, the military said earlier this year.

Roughly 2,500 troops are deployed to Iraq, where they officially act in an advisory role. The U.S. combat mission there ended in 2021.

The Pentagon said its deployment of troops and military hardware to the Middle East are part of efforts to deter militant groups from escalating the conflict into a wider war.

Stars and Stripes reporter J.P. Lawrence and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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J.P. Lawrence reports on the U.S. military in Afghanistan and the Middle East. He served in the U.S. Army from 2008 to 2017. He graduated from Columbia Journalism School and Bard College and is a first-generation immigrant from the Philippines.

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