October 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Strikes IRGC Weapon and Ammunition Facilities in Syria

October 27, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Strikes IRGC Weapon and Ammunition Facilities in Syria

Latest Developments

The United States conducted airstrikes against Iran-backed militias in Syria on October 26, its first response to multiple attacks in recent days on U.S. forces in Iraq and Syria. The Associated Press reported that two U.S. F-16 fighter jets struck weapons and ammunition storage facilities used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and its affiliates near Mayadeen and Boukamal in Eastern Syria. Europe-based Syrian opposition activist Omar Abu Layla told the AP that some people were evacuated from the targeted sites beforehand, as the strikes were expected.

The strikes come after Iran-backed militias in Syria and Iraq conducted at least 19 rocket and drone attacks on coalition facilities hosting U.S. military and civilian personnel since October 17. The attacks resulted in one American contractor dying from cardiac arrest while sheltering and 21 U.S. personnel sustaining injuries.

Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in an October 26 statement announcing what he called “precision self-defense strikes” that the United States will not tolerate attacks on its personnel and interests but “does not seek conflict.”

“Iran wants to hide its hand and deny its role in these attacks against our forces. We will not let them,” Austin said. “If attacks by Iran’s proxies against U.S. forces continue, we will not hesitate to take further necessary measures to protect our people.”

Expert Analysis

“‘Discreet precision strikes’ against ammunition and weapons facilities are not going to impress Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. A better response: Secretary Austin needs to order U.S. troops to kill a few hundred terrorists like then-Secretary James Mattis did in 2018 in Syria against Iran-backed militias and Wagner mercenaries.” — Mark Dubowitz, FDD CEO

“Congress may want to ask a few questions: First, when did the administration first discover these IRGC weapons sites? Second, when did we learn that weapons or munitions from them were being used against our troops? And third, how long did this administration wait to strike IRGC munition storage sites it knew were supplying attacks on our troops?” — Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“The Biden administration is right to hold Iran accountable. These two strikes were the least that U.S. forces should have done in response to a series of 19 separate strikes by Iranian-backed militias that wounded 21 U.S. soldiers. The White House should make it clear that Iran is on a very short leash and further U.S. strikes are imminent if they continue to threaten American or Israeli forces and citizens.” Mark Montgomery, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Cyber and Technology Innovation

“The U.S. strike has everything to do with Hamas, Hezbollah, Iraqi militias, Houthis, and Iran itself. This is Iran’s war. We should not over-exaggerate the impact of the lowest possible retaliation after a week of waiting. Let’s look at the chess board from Tehran, not Washington.” Richard Goldberg, FDD Senior Advisor

Airstrikes Have Not Stopped Further Attacks

The American response did not deter further attacks on U.S. forces. On October 27, Iranian proxies launched a suicide drone attack on U.S. forces at the al-Asad airbase in Iraq. U.S. forces successfully shot down the drone, and no injuries were reported. The Islamic Resistance in Iraq claimed that it launched the attack. Iran’s state-affiliated Tasnim News Agency said that militants also attacked a U.S. military base in al-Omar oil field in eastern Syria with 10 rockets. The United States has yet to confirm this attack.

Iran’s Network of Militias in Iraq and Syria

The Islamic Resistance in Iraq is a network of shadowy Iraqi militia groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. “Islamic Resistance” is a euphemism used by Iranian-backed groups to refer to each other, including groups outside of Iraq, such as Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas. Since the war in Gaza began on October 7, several Shiite militias have issued direct threats to U.S. interests in Iraq and across the Middle East.

U.S. military strikes Iranian assets in Syria after weeks of militia attacks,” by Bill Roggio

Iranian-Backed Militias in Iraq and Syria Continue Attacks on U.S. Troops,” FDD Flash Brief

Iran-Backed Militias Attack U.S. Forces in Iraq,” FDD Flash Brief


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Israel Israel at War Syria