Drone attack kills six Kurdish fighters on US military base in Syria

Iran-backed Iraqi militias, the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, claimed responsibility for the attack

A Syrian Democratic Forces solider on duty in Deir Ezzor, where a training ground at Al Omar base was attacked by a drone. AFP
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A drone attack on a base housing US troops in eastern Syria killed six allied Kurdish fighters late on Sunday, in the first significant attack in Syria or Iraq since retaliatory US strikes at the weekend on Iran-backed militias that have been targeting its forces in the region.

The US-backed, Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) on Monday said the attack hit a training ground at Al Omar base in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor and blamed it on “Syrian regime-backed mercenaries”. No casualties were reported among US troops.

An umbrella group of Iran-backed Iraqi militias called the Islamic Resistance in Iraq released a video claiming responsibility for the attack and showing them launching a drone from an unspecified location.

Late last month, a drone attack by the same group killed three US troops and wounded dozens more at a desert base in Jordan. The US military launched dozens of retaliatory strikes targeting Iran-backed militant groups in western Iraq and eastern Syria and also struck the Houthis in Yemen.

The umbrella group has launched dozens of drone attacks on US military bases and troops in Iraq and Syria, and has called for the withdrawal of American soldiers from both countries.

The attack comes at a time of rising tensions across the Middle East as the Israel-Gaza war continues.

Meanwhile, Britain-based opposition war monitor Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least seven SDF fighters were killed in the attack on Sunday and at least 18 wounded, some in critical condition.

It did not say whether any US military personnel were among the casualties.

The assault late on Sunday came two days after the US military carried out strikes against militant targets linked to Iran in Syria and Iraq.

The SDF said it had the right to respond to the attack.

The US military said it struck four anti-ship missiles on Sunday that were being prepared to be fired at vessels in the Red Sea from Houthi rebel-controlled areas in Yemen.

In a statement early on Monday, the US Central Command said the strikes were in self-defence and came after forces determined the missiles “presented an imminent threat to US Navy ships and merchant vessels in the region”.

Updated: February 06, 2024, 6:57 AM