On 8 November 2023, U.S. military forces conducted an airstrike on what they believed to be a weapons storage facility used by the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in Syria’s eastern Deir ez-Zor governorate. U.S. airstrikes had also targeted alleged munitions storage facilities in Syria on 26 October. The strikes came in response to more than 40 attacks conducted by Iran-backed militias against U.S. forces in the Middle East since 17 October, during which 45 U.S. soldiers have been injured. The U.S. military maintains at least 900 troops in Syria and another 2,500 in Iraq. In a related event, the Yemeni Houthi rebel group shot down a U.S. drone over the Red Sea on 9 November.
Analyst Comment: The attacks against U.S. forces followed threats by Iran-backed militant groups angered by U.S. support of Israel for the ongoing Israeli bombing campaign and ground invasion of the Gaza Strip. In response to the threats, the U.S. military has also deployed 1,200 additional troops along with missile defense systems and aircraft carriers to the Middle East to defend its operations in the region.