US Central Command (CENTCOM) said Friday that two rockets were fired at a US base in northeast Syria, but no injuries or damage occurred, marking the second attempted attack on US forces in the country in nine days.
CENTCOM said in a press release that the rockets were fired at a patrol base in al-Shaddadi. It said the US-backed Kurdish-led SDF visited the site where the rockets were launched and found a third one that wasn’t fired.
The last known attack on a US base reported by CENTCOM took place on November 17 at the US Green Village base in northeast Syria, which also resulted in no injuries or damage.
While there were no casualties in either attack, an escalation is always possible as the US has responded to similar incidents with major airstrikes. In August, after a drone attack on a US base in Syria that resulted in no damage or injuries, the US launched airstrikes against a Shia militia, setting off a tit-for-tat escalation that left at least four fighters dead and three US troops wounded.
According to the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR), the US is reinforcing its position in northeast Syria as about 100 trucks were spotted entering Syria from Iraq on Saturday heading toward US bases. Convoys between US bases in Syria and Iraq are common, but they are typically not as large.
The reported US build-up also comes against the backdrop of Turkey’s air and artillery strikes against the SDF and other Kurdish groups, which started last Sunday. The Turkish operation came in response to a bombing in Istanbul that Turkey blamed on the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (PKK) and its Syrian affiliates, although the Kurdish groups deny they were responsible.
Citing Kurdish media, The Cradle reported that the US was currently mediating between Turkey and the SDF to avoid a Turkish ground invasion. Turkey seeks a buffer zone on the border, and the US has reportedly offered that the SDF could withdraw to positions 30 kilometers away from the Turkish border.