Pentagon: US strikes in Syria and Iraq had ‘good effects,’ and there will be more attacks
Stars and Stripes February 5, 2024
WASHINGTON — U.S. airstrikes in Iraq and Syria on Friday that targeted Iran-backed militants were successful, though Pentagon officials could provide few details three days later, citing ongoing battle-damage assessments.
“We currently assess that we had good effects and that strikes destroyed, or functionally damaged, more than 80 targets at the seven facilities. The number of casualties is still being assessed,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s top spokesman, told reporters Monday. “As it relates to actions that we’re taking, again, I’m not going to have anything to provide for you beyond what we put out in our statements.”
The U.S. military on Friday began retaliatory airstrikes in Iraq and Syria against Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and affiliated militia groups in response to a drone attack Jan. 28 in Jordan that killed three American soldiers.
At least 41 other soldiers — all in the National Guard — were injured in the attack on the U.S. base known as Tower 22 in Jordan. The injured soldiers are from units based in Arizona, California, Kentucky and New York. Twenty-seven were able to return to duty, while 14 others continue to be evaluated for follow-up care, including one in stable condition who required medical evacuation.
The U.S. strikes in retaliation hit three facilities in Iraq and four in Syria, National Security Council spokesman John Kirby told reporters Friday.
President Joe Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin on Friday vowed the strikes would continue.
“Our response began today. It will continue at times and places of our choosing,” Biden said in a statement issued shortly after the attacks. “The United States does not seek conflict in the Middle East or anywhere else in the world. But let all those who might seek to do us harm know this: If you harm an American, we will respond.”
U.S. and British forces on Saturday also conducted strikes against 36 militia targets in Yemen in a continued effort to stop Iran-backed Houthi rebels in that country from their attacks on the shipping lanes in the Red Sea.
Ryder said Monday that Pentagon officials are tracking two attacks in Syria against U.S. troops since the retaliatory strikes on Friday. There are no reports of U.S. injuries or damages, he said. But at least six members of the Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in a drone attack Sunday in the vicinity of Mission Support Site Green Village, a compound in northeastern Syria that houses U.S. and allied forces. Ryder said he is not aware of any U.S. forces who were with Syrian Democratic Forces at the time.
Kirby and Austin said last week before the U.S. airstrikes on Friday that there will be a multi-tiered response to the Jordan attack that killed American soldiers.
“Our responses are not complete,” Ryder said Monday. “I’m not going to telegraph, or discuss, what that may be other than we’ll come back to that at a time of our choosing.”