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After a series of attacks on US troops in Syria, the US strengthens its forces in the Middle East | CNN policy


The US has beefed up its forces in the Middle East after a spate of attacks on US troops in Syria attributed to Iranian militias, the Pentagon said on Friday.

A squadron of A-10 fighter jets is stationed in the region ahead of a planned deployment. According to Pentagon spokesman Lt. Col. Phil Ventura accelerated the deployment of the attack aircraft several weeks after the attacks in Syria.

In addition, the US ordered an aircraft carrier strike group to remain in the region to support US forces at Central Command covering the Middle East and a squadron of A-10 fighter jets in the region, Ventura said.

“We are committed to supporting the mission to counter ISIS along with a global coalition in Syria and ready to respond to a number of Middle East contingencies as needed,” Ventura said in a statement.

The George HW Bush Carrier Strike Group will remain under US European command in the Mediterranean, but it will support US forces in the Middle East in case of contingency plans and operations, Ventura said. Led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS George HW Bush, the task force also includes the guided missile cruiser USS Leyte Gulf, the destroyer USS Delbert D. Black, and the support ship USNS Arctic.

“Taken together, these actions demonstrate the United States’ ability to rapidly reposition forces around the world and underscore its taking all necessary actions to defend U.S. forces,” Ventura said.

Last week, a series of attacks on US bases in Syria killed a US contractor and wounded US personnel in the war-torn country.

The US has about 900 troops in Syria as part of the ongoing mission to defeat ISIS. But these forces, spread across multiple bases in northeastern Syria, have become a frequent target for Iran and its proxies in the region, which can launch drone or missile strikes on US positions.

“Iran threatens to fuel the Middle East into regional instability by supporting terrorists and proxies,” General Mark Milley, chairman of the joint chiefs, said in his opening remarks at the House Armed Services Committee hearing on Wednesday.

But the attacks on US troops in Syria have not changed the Pentagon’s resolve to continue the mission against ISIS, even with the threat of Iranian proxies.

“We will continue to fight terrorist threats in the region or elsewhere where we find them,” Milley said.

The first attack last week came when a drone struck a facility housing US personnel near Hasakah in northeastern Syria. The US blamed the attack on militias affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The attack, which killed a US contractor, also injured five US soldiers and another US contractor, the military said at the time. On Thursday, the Pentagon announced that four additional service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries (TBI) in the days following the attack. One of those soldiers, who was diagnosed with TBI, was transferred to Baghdad, Iraq for further evaluation and treatment.

In response, the US conducted airstrikes on IRGC facilities near Deir ez-Zor, Syria. On Thursday, the Pentagon said it had determined eight militants were killed in the strike.

But after the US retaliatory strikes, militant groups in Syria launched a series of additional attacks on US troops stationed in Conoco and Green Village in northeastern Syria. Three US soldiers were injured in the Green Village attacks, including two with traumatic brain injuries.

The Pentagon acknowledged that the number of service members diagnosed with TBI could increase because screening is not complete and symptoms often take time to develop.

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