Middle East

US destroyed or damaged 84 of 85 targets in Iraq and Syria, officials say; no indications of Iranian casualties

By Oren Liebermann and Natasha Bertrand, CNN

CNN  —  The US destroyed or damaged 84 out of 85 targets in its sweeping series of airstrikes on Friday in Syria and Iraq, according to two US defense officials, with no indications of Iranian casualties.

All but one of the 85 targets were “destroyed or functionally damaged,” the officials said, citing a preliminary battlefield damage assessment.

A complete post-strike analysis is still underway, but one official said there are no indications that members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were killed as part of the operations.

President Joe Biden told reporters traveling with him to Nevada Sunday that the strikes are working to deter and disrupt militant groups’ operations in the region.

In response to a drone attack that killed three US service members and wounded scores more in Jordan last weekend, the US targeted facilities and weapons used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria.

It marked the first time the US has carried out strikes in both countries simultaneously. In Iraq, the US targeted al-Qaim and Akashat near the border with Syria. And in Syria, the US struck near al-Barum, Deir ez-Zur and al-Mayadin.  The target list included command and control centers, intelligence centers, rockets, missile, drone storage facilities and more.

On Friday, in a briefing with reporters after the strikes, Lt. Gen. Douglas Sims, the director of the Joint Staff, said the targets were chosen “with an idea that there would likely be casualties associated with people inside those facilities.”

The Biden administration has faced criticism that it waited too long to respond to the deadly drone strike in Jordan, which gave the Iran-backed militias in Iraq and Syria time to move their personnel. Sims said on Friday that good weather conditions for the operation weren’t present until Friday night. 

Biden and Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said the strikes, far larger than previous US operations in Iraq or Syria, were only the start of the US response.

National security adviser Jake Sullivan told CNN’s Dana Bash on “State of the Union” earlier Sunday that the US retaliation for the strike that killed three US service members was not over. Sullivan called the Friday strikes the “beginning of our response and there will be more steps to come.”

Since the US strikes, there has been one attack on Saturday against US forces at Mission Support Site Euphrates, also known as the Conoco oil fields, according to one of the defense officials. The attack consisted of two rockets launched against the site, with no injuries or damage reported.

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