US Reportedly Investigating Why Air Defense Was Not Fully Operational During Strike in Syria
© DVIDS/US Air Force/Senior Airman Joseph LeveilleU.S. Army Specialist Jacob Smith, an Avenger gunner assigned to the 1st Battalion, 265th Air Defense Artillery Regiment, Florida Army National Guard, operates an Avenger air defense system during Exercise ARCTIC EDGE 2022 at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska, March 14, 2022. The Avenger air defense system is a self-propelled surface-to-air missile system that provides mobile, short-range air defense protection for ground units against cruise missiles, unmanned aerial vehicles, low-flying fixed-wing aircraft, and helicopters. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Joseph P. LeVeille)
© DVIDS/US Air Force/Senior Airman Joseph Leveille
WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - The United States is reportedly investigating the reason why its air defense system was not fully operational during a strike on a US base in Syria.
US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said earlier in the day that the US military had carried out airstrikes on facilities belonging to groups affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) after an Iranian drone attacked a coalition base in northeast Syria, killing one US contractor.
The US military does not know at present why the system did not work as it should and the circumstances are under investigation, the report said, citing two officials.
One of the officials explained that the Avenger missile defense system on the base, named RLZ, may have been experiencing some unexpected maintenance issue, despite the fact that the troops were on high alert given that Iranian-backed groups had conducted 78 attacks in the past two years, US media reported.
Two service members injured during the attack were treated on site, while three others were evacuated to the medical facility in Iraq along with a wounded contractor, a release issued late Thursday by the Pentagon detailed.
The Defense Department did not reveal the identity of the killed person, pending notification of family, one official said, according to the report.
US officials said on Friday that Iran-backed militias fired about a dozen of rockets while attacking a second US base in the area, but that strike did not result in casualties.
The US military controls parts of the provinces of Al-Hasakah, Raqqa, Aleppo and Deir Ez-Zor, where the largest Syrian oil and gas fields are located. The Syrian government has repeatedly called the US military presence in the provinces an occupation aimed at stealing Syria’s oil.