Rocket strike on US coalition in Syria breaks week of calm

This is the first confirmed attack on American and coalition forces since November 23

US forces patrol in Syria's north-eastern Hasakah province near the Turkish border. AFP
Powered by automated translation

An attack on US coalition forces in Syria on Wednesday broke a brief period of relative calm amid a spike in regional violence.

A US Department of Defence official told The National that the morning rocket attack against at a mission support site in Euphrates, Syria, produced “no injuries and no damage to infrastructure”.

This is the first confirmed attack on US and coalition forces since November 23, a day before a temporary truce between Israel and Hamas began in Gaza.

“Our forces in Iraq and Syria will stay focused on the mission we have at hand, which is preventing Daesh [ISIS] resurgence and advising, assisting and enabling our partner forces,” the defence official said.

“As we’ve continuously reiterated, our forces reserve the inherent right to self-defence.”

There have been a surge in attacks against US forces in Iraq and Syria amid Israel's bombardment of Gaza in response to an attack by militant group Hamas on October 7.

Militia groups in Iraq have linked the recent attacks on US bases to Washington's support for Israel.

Wednesday's incident brings the total number of attacks to 74, with 36 in Iraq and 38 in Syria, the defence official added.

The US has been attempting to prevent the war from expanding into the wider region and has issued new sanctions against Iran-backed militia groups operating in Iraq amid the surge in attacks.

Earlier this month, for the first time since the Israel-Gaza war began, Washington struck targets in Iraq in “self-defence”, a US official said.

All of the previous retaliatory US strikes had been carried out in Syria.

There are about 2,500 American troops in Iraq and 900 in Syria as part of efforts to prevent a resurgence of ISIS.

Updated: November 30, 2023, 7:05 AM