United States forces have been attacked 62 times in Iraq and Syria since October 17, the Pentagon said on November 17.
29 of the attacks were in Iraq and 33 were in Syria. The last three attacks, all of which were carried out with suicide drones, targeted al-Harir Air Base and Ayn al-Assad Air Base in northern and western Iraq as well as Tell Beydar base in northeastern Syria.
The Pentagon acknowledged that a service member was wounded in Tel Beydar, but said there were no losses in al-Harir al-Ayn al-Assad.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq (IRI), a coalition of Iranian-backed armed factions, claimed responsibility for the last three attacks and said that they were carried out “in response to the crimes committed by the enemy [Israel] against people in Gaza.”
Most of the recent attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria were claimed by the IRI, which established a special operations room to support Palestinian armed factions in the Gaza Strip after the October 17 Al-Ahli Arab Hospital massacre. The U.S. has been providing unconditional support for the Israeli war on the Palestinian enclave.
The U.S. carried out several retaliatory strikes against targets linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in eastern Syria in an attempt to deter the IRI. However, the number of attacks on U.S. forces appears to be increasing.
In another response to the recent attacks, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned on November 17 six officials affiliated with Iran-backed armed factions in Iraq.
Attacks on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria will likely continue until Israel ends its war in Gaza. The Pentagon has already reinforced its bases in the Middle East with more than 1,200 troops and a dozen air defense systems to prepare for even more escalation.