Six US troops in Syria suffered traumatic brain injuries during two attacks last week by Iran-backed militants, the Pentagon said on Thursday, adding that they had been diagnosed during routine screening in the past few days. Reuters reports.
The revelation raises the human toll among American forces from strikes and counter-strikes in Syria last week to 12 US troops wounded. The attacks also killed an American contractor and injured another.
Pentagon spokesman Brigadier-General Patrick Ryder said four service members suffered traumatic brain injuries at a US base near the Syrian city of Hasaka during a drone attack on March 23. Two others were injured at the Green Village mission support site during an attack on March 24.
“All personnel in the vicinity of a blast are screened for traumatic brain injury. So these additional injuries were identified during post-attack medical screening,” Ryder told a news briefing.
The Pentagon also estimated that eight militants were killed during US airstrikes against two Iranian-linked facilities in Syria.
Ryder said the militants killed were not believed to be Iranians but were linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).
That toll is lower than that reported by the Syrian war monitoring group, which estimated that airstrikes and exchanges of fire killed three Syrian troops, 11 Syrian fighters in a pro-government militia and five non-Syrian fighters aligned with the government . .
President Joe Biden, on Friday, warned Iran that the United States would act strongly to protect Americans.
The White House said on Monday that the incidents would not prompt a US withdrawal from its nearly eight-year-old deployment to Syria, where it is fighting the remnants of Daesh.
This is not the first time US troops in the region have been diagnosed with brain injuries from attacks.
In 2020, more than 100 US troops were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries resulting from an Iranian missile attack on a base in Iraq.
Syria’s Foreign Ministry condemned the US strikes last week, saying Washington had lied about what had been targeted and vowing on Sunday to “end the American occupation” of its territory.
Iran’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs accused US forces of targeting “civilian sites”.
READ: Missile attack targets US base in Syria: reports