The attack, claimed by the “Islamic Resistance in Iraq,” a network of pro-Iranian groups, comes after retaliatory strikes carried out by the United States on Friday night against elite Iranian forces and pro-Iranian armed groups in Syria and Iraq, which resulted in at least 45 deaths. “Seven members of the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF, dominated by Kurds) present at the US base in Al-Omar in the Deir Ezzor region were killed,” the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported, which also noted around twenty injured. According to this UK-based NGO with a vast network of sources in Syria, the attack targeted a section where special forces of the SDF are stationed at this base located on a significant oil field.
In a statement, the SDF denounced “a terrorist attack using a suicide drone (..) which targeted a military training academy on the Al-Omar field.” SOHR director Rami Abdel Rahman told AFP that this was the “first attack by pro-Iranian groups against US bases since the strikes” conducted by Washington over the weekend. The SDF, which includes Arab and Syriac Christian factions, has been at the forefront of the fight against ISIS.
The US forces are deployed as part of the international anti-jihadist coalition through several bases in areas controlled by the SDF, and their base at the Al-Omar oil field is the largest in Syria. The US had carried out strikes against 85 targets at seven different sites (four in Syria and three in Iraq), targeting the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s ideological army, and pro-Iranian armed groups, according to Washington. They have promised further strikes in response to the attack attributed by Washington to pro-Iranian groups on January 28 against a US base in Jordan, near the Syrian and Iraqi borders, in which three US soldiers were killed.
Iran supports armed groups accused by Washington of being behind a surge of attacks against its forces in the Middle East, against the backdrop of the war between Israel and Hamas in Gaza.