A US official told Reuters on Tuesday that up to seven people were killed in the US airstrikes in eastern Syria on Sunday that targeted Shia militias.
If confirmed, the casualties are the first known deaths since the Biden administration began launching airstrikes in eastern Syria as US troops in the region have come under a spate of attacks due to US support of Israel’s onslaught on Gaza.
The Pentagon said Tuesday that it’s still assessing the aftermath of the airstrikes. “We are aware that there were IRGC-affiliated members in the proximity of the facilities that were struck by our aircraft. But I don’t have more on casualty numbers or anything else to read out,” said Pentagon spokeswoman Sabrina Singh.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said the strikes targeted facilities “used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups” at two sites in eastern Syria’s Deir Ezzor province.
The US official speaking to Reuters did not share any details about the people who were killed. The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights previously said that eight people were killed in the strikes and described them as “pro-Iran fighters,” including at least one Syrian and Iraqi nationals, but the SOHR report has not been confirmed.
Attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria have continued since the airstrikes were launched on Sunday, as Shia militia leaders have warned they’re not backing down until there’s a durable ceasefire in Gaza.
The Pentagon said on Tuesday that the total number of attacks on US bases in Syria and Iraq since October 17 has climbed to 56. At least 59 US troops have been injured, including 32 listed with “non-serious” injuries and 27 suffering from traumatic brain injuries.