Thursday, the Pentagon verified the occurrence of the 28th attack on U.S. forces stationed in Iraq and Syria since October 17. A drone assault on the al-Tanf U.S. military base in Syria’s Homs Governorate was confirmed by a U.S. Department of Defense official. The official debunked claims by Iraqi pro-militia outlet Sabereen of two drones attacking the base, clarifying that only one drone was involved and no damage or injuries to U.S. personnel occurred. This incident marked the seventh attack since the U.S. executed airstrikes the previous Thursday.

Earlier, an Iraqi government source informed Reuters that two drones aiming at Syria’s al-Tanf region were neutralized or destroyed by the base defense system on Wednesday.

Attacks against US Bases
Graphics used with permission from the Institute for the Study of War.

In a broader view, between October 17 and 31, U.S. and Coalition Forces stationed at Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) installations in Iraq and Syria faced at least 27 attacks. The assaults, 16 in Iraq and 11 in Syria included a combination of one-way attack drones and rockets. Most of these were effectively intercepted by military forces, preventing significant casualties or damages. However, one U.S. contractor succumbed to cardiac arrest during an attack alert.

October 30 witnessed four separate attacks in both countries. In Iraq, Al-Asad Airbase was targeted by a multi-rocket attack and multiple one-way attack drones, all of which were neutralized without any casualties or damages. Similarly, in Syria, Mission Support Site Euphrates and Mission Support Site Green Village were targeted by multi-rocket attacks, which were also thwarted without any casualties or infrastructure damages reported. The following day, in Shaddadi, Syria, U.S. forces were targeted by a one-way attack drone. On October 27, another rocket attack took place east of Mission Support Site Green Village near the Omar Oil Field. Earlier that week, a drone was shot down at Al-Asad Airbase, Iraq, with no casualties or damages.

On November 3, a drone assault aimed at US troops stationed in Iraq was asserted by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq. The group proclaimed that they had deployed a pair of drones with the US forces near the Erbil International Airport in Iraqi Kurdistan as their target, boasting of achieving “direct hits.” On the other hand, Reuters relayed information from two security insiders who mentioned that the drones aimed at the al Harir base, located thirty miles north of the mentioned airport, were intercepted and neutralized by US forces.

These relentless attacks come in the wake of heightened tensions between Israel and Hamas in Gaza, with the U.S. expressing solid support for Israel. Defense officials suspect Iranian forces’ involvement in these attacks. Top U.S. officials, including President Biden, Vice President Harris, and Secretary of State Antony Blinken, have discouraged Iran’s interference while vowing retaliation if U.S. forces are deliberately targeted. In response to escalating tensions, the U.S. has bolstered its military presence in the Mediterranean Sea and deployed an additional 300 troops recently.

One can’t help but wonder if Iranian-backed forces aren’t trying to draw the United States into a larger regional conflict with global implications.