A rocket attack targeted a base of the United States in Syria’s northeastern region on April 10, less than a month after a deadly confrontation between the coalition and forces linked to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
The attack targeted Mission Support Site Conoco, which is located within a large gas plant in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor.
The U.S. Central Command said in a statement that one rocket hit the vicinity of the coalition outpost, while another was found at the attack’s point of origin, adding that the rocket fire resulted in no injuries or damage to the base.
In a later statement, the coalition said that its forces in northeastern Syria responded to the indirect fire attack, without providing any details.
The rocket fire reportedly originated from the town Jadeed Ekedat in the southeastern Deir Ezzor countryside. The town is controlled by the coalition’s main proxy in northeastern Syria, the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.
Naher Media, a local news blog, reported that U.S. strikes hit the outskirts of Jadeed Ekedat after the attack, killing three Iran-aligned fighters who fired the rockets. According to the blog, two more strikes hit positions of IRGC-backed forces near the government-held town of Hatla, which is located a few kilometers away from Conoco in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor. These claims are yet to be verified.
Damascus and its allies have not yet made any comment on the new confrontation with the U.S.-led coalition in the northeastern region.
Meanwhile, Major General Matthew McFarlane, commanding general of the coalition, condemned what he called “hostile activity.”
“These attacks are reckless and needlessly endanger the people of northeast Syria,” said McFarlane. “This appears to be yet another attempt to detract us from our mission, but we remain firmly committed.”
The U.S. maintains some 900 troops in Syria, spread between key gas and oil fields in the northeastern region and a large garrison in the southeastern area of al-Tanf.
IRGC-backed forces attacked three coalition bases Deir Ezzor and neighboring al-Hasakah on March 23 and 24. The attacks, which were carried out with rockets and suicide drones, claimed the life of a U.S. military contractor and left 12 U.S. service members and a second U.S. contractor wounded.
The U.S. responded to the attacks by carrying out a series of strikes against alleged IRGC positions in Deir Ezzor. At least eight Iran-aligned fighters were killed.
The new confrontation, which is smaller in scale, appears to be over for the time being. However, the situation in northeastern Syria could escalate again soon. According to recent reports, the IRGC recently transferred precision-guided missiles to its allies in the region. U.S. forces there remain on high-alert.