November 14, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Military Strikes Iran-Backed Groups in Syria

November 14, 2023 | Flash Brief

U.S. Military Strikes Iran-Backed Groups in Syria

Latest Developments

The U.S. military on November 12 conducted its third set of airstrikes on Iranian-linked targets in Syria. The airstrikes, which reportedly killed around six or seven Iranian proxy militiamen, came as a direct response to multiple attacks from Iran-backed militias on U.S. forces engaged in counterterrorism operations against the Islamic State ‘in the area. “U.S. military forces conducted precision strikes today on facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to continued attacks against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said in a statement. Iran-backed militias have not acknowledged they were targeted by American airstrikes. 

Expert Analysis

“Iranian proxies attacking U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria are not deterred. If the Biden administration does not make these terror groups pay a higher price for their attacks on our forces, the attacks will continue and the costs for our troops could become even worse.” — Bradley Bowman, Senior Director of FDD’s Center on Military and Political Power

“The continuous attacks by Iran’s militia proxies demonstrate that U.S. efforts to deter future attacks have so far failed. Iran and its proxies do not fear or respect the occasional strike. If the Biden administration truly wants to deter future strikes on U.S. bases in Iraq and Syria, it must hit Iranian assets harder and far more frequently.” — Bill Roggio, FDD Senior Fellow and Editor of FDD’s Long War Journal

U.S. Military Responses

The United States first responded to an uptick in attacks by Iran-backed militias in Syria on October 27. The Associated Press reported that U.S. F-15 and F-16 fighter jets struck weapons and ammunition storage facilities used by the IRGC and its affiliates near Mayadeen and Boukamal in eastern Syria.

On November 8, the Department of Defense said it conducted a “self-defense strike” on a site utilized by the IRGC and its associated groups in eastern Syria. Two F-15 aircraft were used in the operation, said Secretary Austin.

Dozens of Attacks on U.S. Troops

Since October 17, American troops operating in Syria and Iraq have come under attack at least 52 times, according to a CNN report. On November 9, the Pentagon said 56 American personnel had suffered a range of injuries, including both minor wounds and traumatic brain injuries, from the Iranian proxy attacks.

Israel Moves Against Pro-Hezbollah TV Station’s Local Operations,” FDD Flash Brief

U.S. Strikes IRGC Weapon and Ammunition Facilities in Syria,” FDD Flash Brief

Profiles of 15 Iranian-backed Militias in the Middle East,” by Bill Roggio and Joe Truzman


Iran Iran Global Threat Network Iran-backed Terrorism Military and Political Power Syria U.S. Defense Policy and Strategy