U.S. forces struck a weapons storage facility Wednesday in eastern Syria used by Iran and its proxies after continued attacks against American troops in the region, according to the Pentagon.
President Biden directed the “self-defense strike” on the facility, used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and affiliated groups, using two U.S. F-15s, Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a statement.
“This precision self-defense strike is a response to a series of attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria by IRGC-Quds Force affiliates,” Austin said. “The President has no higher priority than the safety of U.S. personnel, and he directed today’s action to make clear that the United States will defend itself, its personnel, and its interests.”
U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria have been attacked at least 42 times since Oct. 17 — including two in the last 24 hours — with one-way drones and rockets. At least 46 service members have been injured in these assaults, which Defense officials have claimed that Iran is responsible for.
In addition, an American MQ-9 Reaper surveillance drone was shot down off the coast of Yemen on Wednesday by the Iranian-backed Houthis, a Defense official confirmed.
Attacks on American troops in the region have been consistent following the start of the Israel-Hamas war, a conflict that has created unrest in the Middle East.
Earlier determent efforts include a U.S. strike on an Iranian weapons storage facility and an ammunition storage area in eastern Syria in late October.
The Pentagon has also deployed at least 1,200 troops to the region along with a Terminal High Altitude Area Defense battery and Patriot battalions.
In addition, Washington has sent two aircraft carrier strike groups to the region and a nuclear-powered submarine.
“The United States is fully prepared to take further necessary measures to protect our people and our facilities,” Austin said. “We urge against any escalation. U.S. personnel will continue to conduct counter-ISIS missions in Iraq and Syria.”