An American airman has been arrested on suspicion of conducting an intentional attack in April inside a small U.S. base in eastern Syria.
The base is designated as “Green Village” and took on rocket fire that caused injury to four U.S. service members. The military initially reported that the base was hit with two indirect-fire rounds. At that time, it was suspected that the attack was conducted either directly by the Iranian military or militia groups backed by Iran.
The explosives used in the attack have been described as “not insignificant” and as having more detonation power than a standard hand grenade. The nighttime attack is shown in some video footage that has been made available to the media showing a figure moving in the area where the explosives were placed.
Investigators are also reportedly looking into whether sentries were posted at the scene of the attack when the explosives were placed.
The four service members who were injured were treated for possible traumatic brain injuries and various minor wounds.
After a formal investigation was initiated, officials discovered the attack was not done by militia groups sending indirect fire, but was instead a deliberate attack.
U.S. Central Command has issued a statement that officials confirmed the explosions at the base were caused by “the deliberate placement of explosive charges” by an unidentified source near an ammunition storage area.
Although an American service member has been taken into custody, officials have said that it is “too early in the process for a charge sheet.” Sources said that if formal charges are filed, they will be provided to the public.
Air Force spokeswoman Ann Stefanek confirmed that on June 16, an “Airman was taken into custody stateside in conjunction with the attack in Green Village, Syria.” Her statement also said that the member’s commanding officer has made the decision to place him in pretrial confinement.
According to the Army Criminal Investigation Department and the Air Force Office of Special Investigation, the matter is still under investigation. An Army official emphasized that at this point the suspect must be presumed innocent. He said that investigators are still working to develop “enough evidence to ensure a conviction in a court of law.”