The top US Air Force general in the Middle East warned of increasing attacks by Iran-backed militias against the United States and its allies as tensions rise in the region.
As he stepped into his new role -- with responsibility for military operations in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and across the region, Lt. Gen. Alexus Grynkewich told reporters at al-Udeid Air Base in Qatar on Thursday that such assaults could lead to a new escalation, while Russia and China are vying for economic and military influence across the Mideast.
“We’re in this position where we’re not under attack constantly, but we do see planning for attacks ongoing. Something will occur that unleashes that planning and that preparation against us,” Grynkewich said.
He also expressed concerns about Iran preparing to send Russia armed and unarmed drones to use in its war on Ukraine, saying it “is not a surprise … but it’s concerning.”
He also referred to Tehran’s rapidly growing stockpile of near-weapons-grade nuclear fuel in recent months, saying, “Everyone in the region is very concerned.”
His remarks came as the Syrian defense ministry said an Israeli strike killed three Syrian soldiers and wounded seven others near Damascus early Friday.
According to The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor the attack targeted an "Iranian weapons depot", an air force intelligence facility and a high-ranking officer's office, as well as a car near the Mezzeh military airport.
It said three Syrians were killed in military positions hosting air defense batteries in the perimeter of the Mezzeh airbase, as well as three non-Syrians and two “collaborators” of the Iran-backed Lebanese Hezbollah group at a workshop for manufacturing Iranian drones near the town of Sayyidah Zaynab, commonly known as Sitt Zaynab, 10 kilometers south of Damascus.