US probes why air defense was not fully functional during Syria strike
The United States seeks to understand why its air defense system did not work properly during a strike that took place on a US base in Syria.
The United States is investigating the reason why its air defense system was not fully operational during a strike on a US base in Syria, The New York Times reported Friday.
The US military carried out airstrikes on facilities belonging to groups allegedly affiliated with the Iranian Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) after an alleged Iranian drone attacked a coalition base in northeast Syria, killing one US contractor, US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin claimed earlier in the day.
The US military currently has no knowledge as to why the system did not work as it should, and the circumstances are being investigated at present time, the report said, citing two officials.
In a related context, media reports said on Friday that missile strikes targeted a US occupation base in the Al-Omar field, the largest oil field in Syria located in the governorate of Deir Ezzor in the country's northeast.
One of the officials explained that the Avenger missile defense system on the base, RLZ, may have been experiencing some unexpected maintenance issues, although the fact that the troops were on high alert given the frequent attacks they are subjected to in light of their occupation of Syrian territory, the report said.
Two occupation soldiers injured during the attack were treated on site, while three others were evacuated to the medical facility in Iraq along with a wounded contractor, NYT said.
The Defense Department is yet to reveal the identity of the killed person, as Washington awaits notification of family, the report added, citing one person familiar with the matter.
It was reported earlier in the day that armed groups fired about a dozen rockets at a US base while attacking a second base in the area, but the strike led to no casualties.
The US military controls parts of the provinces of Al-Hasakah, Raqqa, Aleppo, and Deir Ezzor, where the largest Syrian oil and gas fields are located. The Syrian government has repeatedly called the US military presence in the provinces an occupation aimed at plundering the country's oil.
The US military said it carried out "precision airstrikes" in eastern Syria on Thursday in response to an alleged drone attack that killed one American and injured five US service personnel.
A Department of Defense statement claimed that the casualties fell "after a one-way unmanned aerial vehicle struck a maintenance facility on a Coalition base near Hasakah in northeast Syria."
The statement further added that the US intelligence community assesses "the UAV to be of Iranian origin."
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said that at the direction of President Joe Biden, he had authorized "precision airstrikes tonight in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps."
The US has for long employed the alleged "ISIS threat" as a pretext to continue its illegal occupation of northeastern Syrian territories, frequently looting oil and gas from Syrian fields and transporting them to other occupation bases in Iraq via illegal crossings.
The US House of Representatives voted in early March against legislation instructing Biden to end the US occupation of the Syrian Al-Tanf region and remove approximately 900 troops.
White House National Security Spokesperson John Kirby claimed Friday that US strikes in Syria were aimed at protecting American personnel in the country, where Islamic State (IS) and what he called "Iran-backed militant groups" remain a threat.
In an interview for CNN, Kirby alleged that the United States is not seeking conflict with Iran, adding that Tehran should not be involved in supporting attacks on US facilities, as per US claims.