23 March 2023

The Pentagon announced it had carried out airstrikes in eastern Syria targeting what it described as "facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)" in response to a UAV attack that killed a U.S. contractor; six others (one contractor and five service members) were injured. It further noted that "the intelligence community assess the UAV to be of Iranian origin". The following day, U.S. Central Command reported that a compound housing troops from the U.S.-led counter-ISIS coalition had been targeted with ten rockets. There were no injuries or damages at the facility, but four civilians were wounded in the attack. A U.S. service member was injured in a separate incident at Mission Support Site Conoco. President Biden asserted that “the U.S. does not… seek conflict with Iran, but be prepared for us to act forcefully to protect our people”. On 25 March, Iran’s diplomatic spokesperson condemned the U.S. strikes against what he described as “civilian targets”, rejected U.S. allegations against Iran and emphasised that “Iran’s military advisors are in Syria at the request of the Syrian government for the purpose of helping the country in its struggle against terrorism”.

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