Five U.S. troops have been awarded Purple Hearts after being wounded in the latest surge of attacks against American forces in Iraq and Syria that began on Oct. 17, service officials confirmed.
Three active-duty soldiers have received the Purple Heart since Oct. 1, said Army spokeswoman Heather J. Hagan.
No information has been publicly released yet about the severity of these soldiers’ injuries or in which country they were wounded.
Additionally, two Marines have received Purple Hearts since October according to the Marine Corps. Further information on the circumstances for which the two Marines received the award was not immediately available on Friday.
Military.com first reported that three soldiers and two Marines had received Purple Hearts for the recent attacks in Iraq and Syria.
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No airmen or Space Force Guardians have been awarded Purple Hearts since Oct. 1, and the Navy had no record of sailors receiving Purple Hearts during that same time period, service officials told Task & Purpose.
The recent spate of attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria began after Hamas, which is backed by Iran, launched its Oct. 7 terror attack on Israel. U.S. government officials have repeatedly warned that Iran is trying to escalate the conflict by having its proxies target American troops in the Middle East.
Since Oct. 17, U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria have been attacked 98 times by rockets, drones, mortars, and close-range ballistic missiles, according to the Pentagon. Forty-six of those attacks took place in Iraq and 52 in Syria.
The attacks have resulted in 66 American service members being wounded, of which nearly 30 have been diagnosed with Traumatic Brain Injury so far, according to the Pentagon.
The U.S. military has conducted at least six airstrikes in Iraq and Syria since the attacks by Iranian proxies began, including an AC-130 strike against militants that had launched a ballistic missile at Al Asad Air Base in Western Iraq.
With the drastic increase of attacks against U.S. troops in the region by Iranian proxies, the United States and Iran have come the closest to open hostilities since January 2021, when an American drone killed Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the former head of the IRGC, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the commander of Kata’ib Hezbollah, an Iranian-backed militia.
Iran retaliated by firing ballistic missiles at bases in Iraq that host U.S. troops. Of 110 service members at Al Asad Air Base who were diagnosed with mild Traumatic Brain Injury following the ballistic missile attack, 29 soldiers were awarded Purple Hearts.
Currently, about 2,500 U.S. troops are deployed to Iraq and another 900 are in Syria to fight the remnants of. the Islamic State group, which became an insurgency after it lost its last enclave in 2019.
Despite the uptick in attacks by Iranian-backed proxies, U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria carried out 40 missions against ISIS during November, killing four suspected ISIS fighters and detaining another 33.
“Even in the midst of complex challenges within the region, CENTCOM remains steadfast to the region and the enduring defeat of ISIS,” Army Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, head of CENTCOM, said in a Dec. 7 statement.
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