US strikes back in Syria to avenge death of US contractor by Iranian drone

Intelligence services linked the attack to members of an elite group of the Iranian Armed Forces.

"I have authorized U.S. Central Command forces to conduct precision airstrikes in Syria against facilities of groups affiliated with Iran," Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III announced in a statement.

The US airstrike was conducted in response to the launch of an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) against U.S. and allied facilities that killed one contractor and injured six other military personnel. The event occurred around 1:30 pm local time.

Two of the wounded were treated at the same base near Hasaka, in the northeast of the country. While four others were evacuated to coalition medical centers in Iraq.

U.S. intelligence services determined that the UAV was of Iranian production. Although the Defense Department did not provide further details, it did single out Iran' s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), an elite Iranian army group that is on the U.S. government's list of foreign terrorist organizations.

The airstrikes were conducted in response to today's attack, as well as a series of recent attacks against coalition forces in Syria by IRGC-affiliated groups.

The effectiveness of the response has not yet been confirmed. However, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, at least eight pro-Iranian fighters have reportedly been killed.