Following several drone strikes on bases housing U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria since Oct. 16, the Pentagon has been able to confirm the attacks injured 21 American service members.
The “minor” injuries occurred following separate strikes on al-Tanf garrison in Syria and al-Asad air base in Iraq on Oct. 17 and 18, Air Force Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder, a Pentagon spokesman, said in a statement Wednesday, adding that everyone has since returned to duty.
“It is important to note, in some cases service members may report injuries such as TBI several days after attacks occur, so numbers may change,” he said.
Ryder told reporters during a briefing Tuesday that U.S. Central Command is working on a total number of strikes over the past two weeks, as bases in Iraq and Syria have detected more possible attacks as well as thwarted some.
Defense officials have attributed the uptick to U.S. support to Israel in its war with Hamas.
“We see a prospect for much more significant escalation against U.S. forces and personnel in the near term,” a senior defense official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, told reporters on Monday. “And let’s be clear about it: the road leads back to Iran. Iran funded, armed, equipped and trained militias and proxy forces all across the region.”
Meghann Myers is the Pentagon bureau chief at Military Times. She covers operations, policy, personnel, leadership and other issues affecting service members.