The death toll from US airstrikes targeting pro-Iranian groups in Syria in response to a deadly drone attack has risen to 19, an NGO said on Saturday, with the US insisting it will not did not seek to enter into conflict with Tehran.
New rocket attacks carried out by Iran-backed militias took place late Friday, prompting new US airstrikes, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (OSDH) reported.
Washington carried out the strikes after the Pentagon announced that an American contractor had died, another contractor and five soldiers had been injured by an "
" drone that struck a US-led coalition base near Hassakeh in northeast Syria.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he ordered, on instructions from President Joe Biden, "
precision airstrikes... in eastern Syria against facilities used by groups affiliated with the Corps." of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards
", the ideological army of Iran.
On Saturday, the OSDH, based in Britain and having an extensive network of sources in Syria, indicated that 19 people had been killed in the American strikes: three soldiers of the Syrian regime and 16 members of the forces supported by the Iran, including 11 Syrian nationals.
On Friday, ten rockets were fired at US and coalition forces at the Green Village base in northeastern Syria, according to the US military command for the Middle East (Centcom).
These attacks caused no coalition injuries or damage, but a rocket that hit a house nearly five kilometers from the base caused "
slightly wounding two women and two children
", American captain Abigail Hammock told AFP.
Later on Friday, Iran-backed militias targeted a base in the Conoco gas field, prompting an air strike from coalition forces on targets in the town of Deir Ezzor, it said. the OSDH.
Rocket fire then targeted coalition installations in the base of the Al-Omar oil field and in the countryside east of Deir Ezzor, "
causing material damage
", added the OSDH.
" returned to the Deir Ezzor region on Saturday morning, according to the same source.