More US troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after attacks in Syria

Apr 14, 2023, 6:00 AM | Updated: Apr 15, 2023, 10:47 am

The military identified 11 additional cases of traumatic brain injury following a series of rocket ...

The Pentagon is seen from a flight taking off from Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on November 29, 2022, in Arlington, Virginia. In wake of the recent leak of classified documents, the Pentagon is examining its policies. An associate professor at Utah Valley University joined Inside Sources Tuesday to talk about the situation,. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)

(Alex Wong/Getty Images)

  (CNN) — The military identified 11 additional cases of traumatic brain injury following a series of rocket and drone attacks on US troops in Syria in late March, according to a spokesman for US Central Command.

The new cases bring the number of US personnel wounded in the attacks to a total of 25, including one US contractor who was killed at a facility in northeast Syria on March 23.

“Our medical teams continue to assess and evaluate our troops for indications of [traumatic brain injury],” said Col. Joe Buccino, spokesman for CENTCOM.

The series of attacks on US troops in Syria began March 23, when a suicide drone hit a facility near Hasakah in northeast Syria. The drone attack killed one US contractor and injured five US service members and another contractor, the military said at the time. The attack was attributed to militias affiliated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

In response, the US carried out a retaliatory airstrike against facilities used by IRGC-affiliated militias. In addition to destroying infrastructure, the attack killed eight militants, according to the Pentagon.

One day later, the volatile situation escalated further when militant groups believed to be affiliated with Iran launched more attacks on US troops in Syria.

A series of rockets were fired on US troops at Mission Support Site Conoco, injuring one service member. A short time later, three suicide drones targeted Green Village, another position with US troops. Two of the three drones were downed by air defense systems, while the third damaged a building but caused no injuries.

One week after the attacks, the Pentagon said six service members had been diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries, but cautioned the number may grow since symptoms develop over time.

At the time, Pentagon press secretary Brig. Gen. Pat Ryder stressed that the US “will take all necessary measures to defend our troops and our interests overseas.”

“We do not seek conflict with Iran,” he said, “but we will always protect our people.”

Mild traumatic brain injury, or concussion, is one of the most common forms of traumatic brain injury among service members. But traumatic brain injuries can also be debilitating; veterans described symptoms of dizziness, confusion, headaches, and irritability after sustaining traumatic brain injuries, as well as changes in personality and balance issues.

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More US troops diagnosed with traumatic brain injury after attacks in Syria