The Pentagon said it bombed Tehran-linked militants to “protect US forces” in Syria.

The US military has launched multiple airstrikes against targets in eastern Syria, claiming it hit sites used by Iranian-backed fighters and suggesting they may have been behind a drone attack on a US base earlier this month. this month.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) announced the operation in a statement Tuesday night, saying US forces carried out an unspecified number of “precision air strikes” in Deir ez-Zor, Syria earlier in the day.

“The United States Targets Specific Infrastructure Facilities Used By Groups Affiliated With Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps,” said the command, adding “These precision strikes are intended to defend and protect US forces from attacks like the one on August 15 against US personnel by Iranian-backed groups.”

The statement did not identify any of the targets in the attack or offer an estimate of casualties.

According to the military, in the August 15 incident cited by CENTCOM, several unidentified drones descended on the US outpost at al-Tanf, a remote garrison in southern Syria near the three-way border with Jordan and Iraq. The drones caused no casualties, but a senior US commander stated that the attack “endanger the lives of innocent Syrian civilians.” before suggesting “Iranian-backed groups” were behind the drones on Tuesday, Washington had not blamed any actor.

While CENTCOM reiterated that US forces remain in Syria to “ensure lasting defeat” of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) and not “seek conflict,” the Syrian government has repeatedly denounced the US presence and demanded that US troops leave the country. In addition to the base in al-Tanf, the Americans have long been embedded with Kurdish fighters based in northeastern Syria, first deployed as advisers to President Barack Obama.

As of Tuesday night, neither Damascus nor Tehran have yet responded to the latest US operation.

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