AC-130 Gunships, Apaches, Artillery Hit Iran-Backed Militants in Syria Following Attacks

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US forces used AC-130 gunships, AH-64 attack helicopters, and 150mm M777 artillery cannons to attack Iranian-backed militias in Syria after a series of escalating attacks against US outposts there. Screenshot of US strikes via US Central Command video. US Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Jeremy Lock. Composite by Coffee or Die Magazine.

In two attacks within 24 hours, US forces hit Iran-backed militants in Syria with an array of heavy weapons, including AH-64 attack helicopters, AC-130 gunships, and M777 artillery. The multipronged attacks in northeastern Syria on Tuesday, Aug. 23, and Wednesday, Aug. 24, came in response to a series of attacks on US outposts earlier in the month.

In the second, larger attack on Wednesday, a coordinated US air and artillery strike killed four militia fighters and destroyed seven rocket launchers in the Deir ez-Zor province, US officials said.

The US attacks were in response to a surge in Iran-backed militants firing rockets at US troops, including attacks on Wednesday against two outposts — Mission Support Site Conoco and Mission Support Site Green Village — just after 7 p.m. local time, a US Central Command press release reads.

Army and Air Force partners with SDF to conduct AH-64 live-fire

US Army soldiers and US Air Force joint terminal attack controllers partner with Syrian Democratic Forces to conduct an AH-64 live-fire in the US Central Command area of responsibility on March 20, 2021. US Army photo by Sgt. Torrance Saunders.

Sgt. Torrance Saunders/Combined Joint Task Force - Oper

One American service member sustained a minor injury in the rocket attacks, then returned to duty. Two other members were evaluated for minor injuries, according to the press release.

Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, the commander of Central Command, said the US attacks were meant to deter further attacks on US troops. “We will respond appropriately and proportionally to attacks on our service members,” Kurilla said. “No group will strike at our troops with impunity. We will take all necessary measures to defend our people.”

This week’s hostilities were prompted, US officials said, by an attack on US forces in Syria earlier in the month. On Aug. 15, drones targeted al-Tanf, a compound run by US forces and US-backed Syrian opposition fighters in eastern Syria. No casualties or damage were reported in that attack.

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Jenna Biter has written for regional magazines and digital outlets including on great power competition and special operations medical teams for The National Interest. She is pursuing a master’s degree in national security and is working on speaking Russian. Her husband is on active duty in the US military. Know a good story about national security or the US military? Email Jenna.
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