WASHINGTON (AP) – The United States-led coalition in Syria has struck several short-range rocket launch sites believed to be intended for attacks on a facility used by US troops in eastern Syria, announced Tuesday officials.
The strikes on the launch sites were apparently carried out by US forces, but a statement released by the coalition did not say who carried them out. The statement offered few details beyond saying that the sites “posed an imminent threat in the vicinity of Green Village, Syria,” and were beaten in self-defense.
Green Village, just east of the Euphrates, is a facility used by some of the hundreds of US forces in Syria.
Pentagon spokesman John Kirby said the airstrikes were not used against the launch sites. He did not develop.
“One of the reasons these sites got hit was that we had reason to believe they were going to be used as launch sites for attacks on Green Village,” Kirby said. “So it is clear that our men and women remain in danger and we must take this threat very seriously and we still have the right to self-defense.”
Kirby said he couldn’t comment on which group might have intended to use the rocket sites. The preemptive attack on the sites follows two separate incidents this week in Iraq in which drones loaded with explosives were shot down before they could attack an Iraqi military base housing US troops in western Iraq and a facility housing American advisers at Baghdad airport.
Commenting on those drone incidents in Iraq on Monday and Tuesday, Kirby said the United States had not conclusively determined who was behind them, but added, “These types of attacks are very much the type of attack. ‘attacks we’ve seen from Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria, and so obviously our working hypothesis is that these groups were responsible for them. “
A January 2020 US drone strike at Baghdad airport killed General Qassim Soleimani, who was the leader of Iran’s elite Quds force, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias. in Iraq.
Pro-Iranian Shiite factions in Iraq have vowed revenge for the killings.
The United States has approximately 2,500 troops in Iraq serving as trainers and advisers to the Iraqi security forces.
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