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IMMINENT WARNING: MULTIPLE ATTACKS TARGET US MILITARY INFRASTRUCTURE IN SYRIA

March 24, 2023

Abigail Buxton, Benedetta Bisaccia, Kyle Dillon, Pike Wipperfurth, Utsav Yadav CENTCOM/AFRICOM Team

Radhika Ramalinga Venkatachalam, Editor; Jennifer Loy, Chief Editor


Location of Al-Hasakah, Syria[1]


Event: On March 23, 2023, a suspected Iranian drone strike at a US military base near Hasakah, Syria left six US personnel injured and one US contractor dead. Previously, drones have targeted US assets in Syria, but deaths are rare. The US responded to the recent drone strike with a series of airstrikes targeting two facilities affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). These attacks reportedly killed eight pro-Iranian fighters, but Reuters has not confirmed this report. The Iranian media released statements saying no Iranians had been killed and that these targets were not military facilities.[2] On March 24, US President Joe Biden warned that the US would “act forcefully” to protect Americans. The same morning a US base at the Al-Omar oil field in Syria came under rocket attacks, leaving one US service member injured. The attacks mark a significant escalation in the conflict between Iran and the United States. The situation continues to develop, with pro-Iranian forces making an online statement claiming they have a “long arm” to respond to further US strikes on their assets.[3] Incoming reports suggest another attack with more than 20 rockets being fired against two US bases in eastern Syria.[4]


Significance: The tension between the US and Iran will almost certainly escalate, likely straining the ability for future nuclear talks. The 900 US troops deployed in Syria will almost certainly continue being targets of Iranian missiles. There is a roughly even chance that Iran’s growing partnership with Russia and China has emboldened the groups affiliated with Iran's IRGC to target US troops in Syria. There is a roughly even chance for the US to reorient its positions in northeastern Syria due to the attacks. It will likely increase destabilization, likely contributing to the possibility of an ISIS resurgence and its power to re-capture Syrian territory. With Iran and Russia wishing to push the US out of the Middle East, there will likely be further attacks against the US and other western troops. There is a roughly even chance this increase in violence will motivate Russia to build more bases in Syria. The US military will likely increase its use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) or drones to conduct surveillance in the aftermath of the airstrikes.


Recommendations

  • The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) recommends that US forces in Syria, and the areas directly surrounding the bases, remain on high alert for attacks and increase immediate security measures.

  • CTG recommends that US and coalition forces in Syria launch an investigation into weak security measures and implement improved defense systems at US bases.

  • CTG recommends that the US and Russia use the existing hotline to prevent accidental clashes between them in Syrian airspace.

  • CTG recommends that the US focuses on defending against ISIS in Syria to prevent attacks or a resurgence.

  • If there is any additional and or critical information, please contact us at The Counterterrorism Group (CTG) by Telephone at 202-643-2848 or email at info@counterterrorismgroup.com

 

[1] Al-Hasakah by Google Maps

[3] Ibid

[4] CTG Threat Hunter on Telegram

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