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46 US troops injured in Iraq, Syria attacks

The Pentagon in Arlington County, Virginia. (Dreamstime/TNS)
November 07, 2023

The Pentagon revealed Monday that the number of injuries to U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria has increased, with nearly 50 service members wounded over a nine-day period.

According to Pentagon officials, roughly 46 injuries have resulted from drone and rocket attacks by Iran-aligned militant groups between October 17 and October 26.

At a strategic foothold in southern Syria, al-Tanf garrison, 32 troops have suffered injuries, while al Asad Air Base in western Iraq accounted for 13 wounded personnel. A base in Erbil also reported at least one injury.

Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, the Pentagon’s chief spokesperson, stated, “All of these injuries occurred prior to the self-defense strikes we took [in Syria] on Oct. 26,” and noted, “To my knowledge, there have been no injuries reported since then.”

The situation underscores a stark increase in hostility, with Ryder revealing that traumatic brain injuries comprised approximately half of the reported injuries. Two American service members were initially returned to duty after head injuries but were later sent to a medical facility in Germany for further assessment and are currently in stable condition, according to Ryder.

Last week, the Pentagon announced that 21 U.S. troops had been injured in attacks against U.S. forces in Syria and Iraq; however, the Pentagon’s report has since been revised as more injuries have come to light, reflecting the often delayed onset of symptoms.

“This can happen for a number of reasons, [such as] individuals initially dismissing the severity of the injuries they sustained … or symptoms presenting themselves after initial reporting,” Ryder explained. “It’s not unusual for service members to come in after the fact, days later.”

In a surge of aggression, 38 separate strikes on U.S. bases have been recorded in the last three weeks, with eight additional strikes reported since last Friday. Ryder described the 20 attacks in Iraq and 18 attacks in Syria as “harassing attacks” by Iran-backed terrorist groups using drones and rockets.

The Pentagon has previously identified the assailants as Iranian-backed groups funded and trained by the largest state sponsor of terrorism. Despite the Pentagon’s report, the military has been reluctant to directly link the increased attacks with the ongoing conflict between Israel and the Iran-backed Hamas terrorist organization.

READ MORE: U.S. Commandos helping find hostages in Israel, Pentagon says

In a decisive response to the escalated threat, the U.S. has dispatched an additional 1,200 troops to the Middle East, with a dual mission to support Israel and bolster protection for troops in the region, according to Stars and Stripes.

Amidst these developments, the Pentagon has deployed considerable military assets to the Middle East, including fighter jets and Navy carrier strike groups.

Moreover, a nuclear-powered Ohio-class submarine was recently sent to the region. The U.S. is also conducting overhead drone surveillance over Gaza in search of approximately 200 hostages held by Hamas. To date, only a few of the hostages have been released.

“A major focus for the Department of Defense is to deter a broader regional conflict, and so you’re seeing … groups that may try to exploit the situation to benefit their own interests, to include Iranian proxy groups,” Ryder emphasized. “We have known for a long time that one of Iran’s broader strategic goals is forcing the United States out of the region, and they have employed these proxy groups.”

This news article was partially created with the assistance of artificial intelligence and edited and fact-checked by a human editor.