(Beirut) Fourteen pro-Iranian fighters were killed by US airstrikes in eastern Syria overnight from Thursday to Friday, carried out in response to a drone attack that killed an American and injured six others .

The drone attack took place on Thursday against a maintenance facility at a base near Al-Hasakah, killing an American contractor, and injuring five American soldiers and another contractor, according to the Pentagon.

In response, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said he had authorized “precision airstrikes” in eastern Syria “against facilities used by groups affiliated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps.”

The strikes killed six pro-Iranian fighters at an “arms depot in the town of Deir Ezzor” and eight others at positions of pro-Iranian groups near Mayadine and Boukamal, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. Man (OSDH).

Iranian groups and their allies, who are fighting alongside the Damascus regime, are strongly established in these regions near the border with Iraq, important crossing points for weapons destined for Syria.

Nine of the fourteen killed are Syrians, said the OSDH, based in the United Kingdom, but which has an extensive network of sources in Syria.

On Friday, ten rockets were fired at US and coalition forces “around 8:05 a.m. (2:05 a.m. EST) in Syria” at the al-Omar oil field, referred to as the “green zone”. “, according to the US military command for the Middle East (Centcom).

OSDH director Rami Abdel Rahmane earlier claimed that rockets had been fired by “groups affiliated with Tehran”.

These attacks caused no coalition injuries or damage, but a rocket that hit a home nearly three miles from the base caused “significant damage”, “lightly injuring two women and two children”, said American captain Abigail Hammock told AFP.

The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the de facto army of the Kurds, allies of the Americans, announced that the rocket fire had injured two civilians.

On Friday, US President Joe Biden assured that “the United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but (is) ready to act forcefully to protect its people”.

His secretary Lloyd Austin had earlier explained that the US strikes were “in response to today’s attack as well as a series of recent attacks on coalition forces in Syria by groups affiliated with the Revolutionary Guards”.

The strikes were intended to show “that we take the safety of our personnel seriously and that we will respond…if we are threatened,” said Pentagon spokesman Pat Ryder.

Several hundred American soldiers are in Syria, part of a coalition fighting against the remnants of the Islamic State (IS) group. They are frequently targeted by militias.

US troops are supporting the SDF, which led the battle that ousted the IS group from the last territories it controlled in Syria in 2019.

Two of the US soldiers injured on Thursday were treated at the scene of the attack, while the other three soldiers and a US contractor were medically evacuated to Iraq, the Pentagon said.

In August 2022, the US president ordered similar retaliatory strikes in the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor after a coalition outpost was attacked by multiple drones, which left no casualties. .

Iran says it deployed its forces in Syria at the invitation of Damascus, and only as advisers.

The Revolutionary Guards are the ideological arm of the Iranian military and are labeled a terrorist group by Washington.

On several occasions, the US-led international coalition has admitted carrying out strikes in eastern Syria against pro-Iranian fighters. Israel also regularly carries out strikes there, but rarely claims them.