After an overnight drone strike in northeast Jordan, close to the Syrian border, that resulted in the deaths of three American servicemen and the injuries of several more, President Joe Biden declared on Sunday that the United States “will retaliate.” After months of attacks by these organizations against US soldiers around the Middle East since the commencement of the Israel-Hamas conflict, Biden attributed the first American casualties to militias backed by Iran.
While on the road in South Carolina, Biden stopped at a banquet hall belonging to a Baptist church and requested a minute of silence.
In the Middle East, we had a difficult day last evening. In an attack on one of our bases, we lost three courageous lives,” he declared. “And we shall answer,” Biden said following the quiet.
U.S. authorities were attempting to definitively identify the specific organization behind the attack due to the growing possibility of military escalation in the region, but they have determined that one of many factions sponsored by Iran was the culprit.
The US “will call all those responsible to account at a time and in a manner (of) our choosing,” according to a prepared statement from Biden. “We will take all necessary means to defend the United States, our troops, and our interests,” declared Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin.
Omar Abu Layla, an activist living in Europe and the head of the Deir Ezzor 24 media site, claims that militants in east Syria who were backed by Iran started to evacuate their positions out of fear of US bombings.
According to U.S. Central Command, the one-way attack drone caused injuries to at least 34 servicemen, eight of whom were evacuated out of Jordan for additional medical attention. The eight were said to be in stable condition.
The massive drone hit Tower 22, a logistical support site in Jordan. It is mostly used by soldiers on the advise-and-assist mission for Jordanian forces, and it is located near the Syrian border.
About 350 members of the US Army and Air Force were stationed at the site, according to Central Command. Army personnel made up the majority of those injured and the three dead, according to multiple anonymous U.S. sources who provided information not yet released to the public.
The United States provides engineering, aviation, logistical, and security forces to the modest site, which is hidden from the public by Jordan. According to Austin, the purpose of the Marines’ deployment was “to strive toward the enduring destruction of ISIS.” According to three authorities, the large number of casualties was caused by a drone strike that occurred close to the troops’ sleeping quarters.
The distance between Tower 22 and the U.S. military facility in Syria, al-Tanf, is about 20 kilometers (12 miles). The US soldiers in Syria, particularly those at al-Tanf, which is close to the intersection of the borders of Syria, Iraq, and Jordan, rely heavily on the logistical center provided by the Jordanian post.
Jordan “condemned the terrorist act” that targeted US troops, according to a statement posted by the government-run Petra news agency. According to that story, the drone attack did not injure any Jordanian soldiers and was directed against “an outpost on the border with Syria.”
According to a statement attributed to government spokesman Muhannad Mubaidin, “Jordan will continue to counter terrorism and the smuggling of drugs and weapons across the Syrian border into Jordan, and will confront with firmness and determination anyone who attempts to attack the security of the kingdom.”
Jordan, a country surrounded by Saudi Arabia, Syria, Israel, the Palestinian West Bank, and Iraq, has long served as a base for American forces. Typically, there are about 3,000 US troops spread across throughout Jordan.
Iranian-backed militias have used a variety of weaponry, including drones, rockets, mortars, and ballistic missiles, to attack US military positions more than 60 times in Iraq and more than 90 times in Syria since the start of the Gaza War on October 7. During the Israel-Hamas conflict, Sunday’s strike was the first to target US forces in Jordan and the first to claim American life. During the attacks, several U.S. servicemen suffered injuries, some of which including traumatic brain injuries.
The militias claim that they want to drive US soldiers out of the area and that their attacks are a kind of reprisal for Washington’s backing of Israel in the Gaza conflict.
In response to attacks on US personnel in the area and to dissuade Iran-backed Houthi rebels from posing a threat to commercial shipping in the Red Sea, the United States has attacked targets in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen in recent months.
The chairman of the Senate Military Services Committee, Senator Jack Reed, D-RI, stated, “I am convinced the Biden Administration will respond in a careful and proportionate manner.”
Republicans in Congress said that the administration’s strategy had not succeeded in dissuading America’s regional foes.
Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and Republican representative from Texas, Rep. Michael McCaul, stated that “we need a significant reset of our Middle East strategy to safeguard our national security interests.” Even further, Sen. Lindsay Graham (R-S.C.) urged the administration “to hit targets of consequence.”
Jordan, a steadfast friend of the West and an important authority in Jerusalem due to its supervision of sacred sites there, is allegedly carrying out airstrikes in Syria to dislodge drug smugglers, including one that claimed nine lives earlier this month.
The Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella organization for militias backed by Iran, has already claimed to have launched explosive drone assaults against three locations in Syria and one within “occupied Palestine.” Since the start of the Israel-Hamas conflict, the organization has taken credit for many strikes against sites that house US troops in Syria and Iraq.
Speaking under pseudonyms since they were not permitted to speak with media about the situation, three representatives of Iran-backed militias in Iraq said that the drone strike at the facility near syria is not theirs.