US attack helicopters on Wednesday (August 24) struck several sites used by Iran-backed militants to fire rockets at bases housing American troops in northeastern Syria, US Central Command (CENTCOM) said.
"US forces responded today to rocket attacks at two sites in Syria, destroying three vehicles and equipment used to launch some of the rockets," said CENTCOM, which oversees US military operations in the Middle East.
Two or three suspected Iran-backed militants allegedly responsible for one of the attacks were killed, it added.
Three US service members sustained minor injuries when several rockets hit both the Conoco and Green Village bases in Deir Ezzor, a strategic, oil-rich province bordering Iraq, on Wednesday evening.
The facilities are run by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, allies of the United States and other coalition partners that are maintaining a mission against the remnants of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).
"We have a total spectrum of capability to mitigate threats across the region, and we have every confidence in our ability to protect our troops and coalition partners from attacks," said CENTCOM commander Gen. Michael "Erik" Kurilla.
2nd day of strikes
The strike comes a day after another US attack targeted facilities Washington said were used by Iran-backed militias in Deir Ezzor province.
Those strikes "targeted infrastructure facilities used by groups affiliated with Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC]", CENTCOM spokesman Col. Joe Buccino said.
The IRGC is the ideological arm of the Iranian military and is blacklisted as a "terrorist" group by the United States.
"This operation is a demonstration the United States will not hesitate to defend itself against Iranian and Iran-backed aggression when it occurs," Under Secretary of Defence for Policy Colin Kahl told reporters Wednesday.
"The United States does not seek conflict with Iran, but we will continue to take the measures necessary to protect and defend our people," CENTCOM said.
After more than 400 hours of surveillance, Tuesday's air strikes hit nine bunkers in a complex that Iranian-backed groups used for ammunition storage and logistics, Buccino told CNN.
The US military had originally intended to hit 11 of 13 bunkers in the complex, but CENTCOM called off strikes on two after spotting groups of people near them, he said, adding an initial assessment indicated no one had been killed.