On April 7, a small US base located in northern Syria was targeted by two indirect fire munitions that injured four service members. Initial investigations of the US officials led them to believe that the attack was due to an indirect fire on the base. Now, a US Air Force Service member has been taken into custody.
Green Village Attack
Two indirect fire munitions most likely caused by mortars or rockets targeted the Green Village base situated near Al-Omar, the largest oilfield in Syria. According to the statement released by the Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, the Green Village was attacked at 1:09 am, striking two support buildings and causing minor injuries and possible traumatic brain injuries to four US service members. Initially, it was suspected that either Iran or some Iranian-backed militia groups are behind the attack.
A statement regarding today's indirect fire attacks at Green Village in Eastern Syria. pic.twitter.com/0yte6HkrIO
— Inherent Resolve (@CJTFOIR) April 7, 2022
The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division and the Air Force Office of Special Investigations carried out the investigation. In a statement released by the military, they said,
At this point, these are just allegations, all suspects are presumed to be innocent until/unless convicted in a court of law. The investigation is ongoing, which may or may not, develop sufficient evidence to identify a perpetrator(s) and have enough evidence to ensure a conviction in a court of law. No further information will be released at this time.
The course of the investigation changed and on April 14, exactly a week from the incident, the military released another statement, saying that the attack was not caused by indirect fire as initially thought, but was “a result of deliberate placement of explosive charges by an unidentified individual(s) at an ammunition holding area and shower facility.”
What stood out about the explosive’s characteristic was it was “military-grade.” Furthermore, the investigators discovered that the attack was carried out in the middle of the night and two CCTV footage showed the instances that a figure appeared to be placing the charges. Based on the timing, it also appeared as if the perpetrator did not intend to cause mass casualties to his fellow service members. A statement was issued by an Air Force spokesperson, Ann Stefanek. who said,
As part of an ongoing investigation, on June 16, an Airman was taken into custody stateside in conjunction with the attack in Green Village, Syria. After reviewing the information in the investigation, the Airman’s commander made the decision to place him in pretrial confinement.
The identity of the person is still unknown since authorities refused to disclose any other details. As to why they explained in a statement,
We won’t release the individual’s name unless charges are preferred. It is too early in the process for a charge sheet. It will be available if charges are preferred. The expectation is charges could be filed within the next few weeks.
US Involvement in the Syrian Civil War
The ongoing Syrian Civil War broke out in March 2011 after what was supposed to be a peaceful pro-democracy protest against the president of Syria. Now, the multi-sided war saw the emergence of multiple rebel factions and terrorist groups like ISIS and Al-Qaeda. The conflict left half a million people dead and still dying, while cities were left in shambles.
Beginning in August 2014 under the Obama administration, the US sent its first airstrikes against the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) which was committing atrocities at that time. Just a month later, President Obama announced his intention to fully get involved in the conflict. He addressed the American people in a statement,
Tonight, I want you to know that the United States of America is meeting them with strength and resolve. Last month, I ordered our military to take targeted action against ISIL to stop its advances. Since then, we’ve conducted more than 150 successful airstrikes in Iraq. These strikes have protected American personnel and facilities, killed ISIL fighters, destroyed weapons, and given space for Iraqi and Kurdish forces to reclaim key territory. These strikes have also helped save the lives of thousands of innocent men, women and children.
Furthermore, he said that their objective in making such a decision is clear, “We will degrade, and ultimately destroy, ISIL through a comprehensive and sustained counterterrorism strategy.”
Today, under the Biden administration, about 900 troops are in Syria.