A distant US army outpost within the southern Syrian desert was hit by a suspected drone assault on Wednesday night, in response to a US official.
Explosions had been first heard near al-Tanf garrison round 7 pm native time, a Syrian civilian official on the close by Rukban displaced individuals camp informed Al-Monitor.
The base homes US Special Operations forces and a neighborhood insurgent militia referred to as Maghawir al-Thawra (MAT). No US casualties have been reported, in response to US Central Command, which oversees US troops within the Middle East. MAT officers didn’t return Al-Monitor’s request for remark by publication time.
CENTCOM confirmed the incident in an announcement launched in a while Wednesday, describing it as “a deliberate and coordinated attack” within the space of al-Tanf.
Initial stories acquired by CENTCOM mentioned the assault concerned unmanned drones and oblique hearth, a class which might embrace rockets, mortars and artillery. “All US personnel have been accounted for,” the assertion learn.
“We maintain the inherent right of self-defense and will respond at a time and place of our choosing,” CENTCOM’s assertion learn.
The Rukban civilian official mentioned no members of the displaced individuals camp had been injured within the incident, including that witnesses on the camp mentioned they noticed unmanned plane and two fires on the horizon within the course of al-Tanf.
The US maintains greater than three thousand troops in Syria and Iraq mixed within the wake of the multinational conflict in opposition to the Islamic State.
No group has but claimed credit score for the incident. The US has but to attribute blame, however the assault comes as Washington’s response to Iran’s insurance policies within the area has heightened tensions between US troops and native Iran-backed militias.
Militias with ties to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have a heavy presence in japanese Syria. They stay within the war-torn nation in help of Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad.
US army and intelligence websites in Iraq and Syria have been hit by a sequence of drone assaults by suspected Iran-linked teams in latest months, elevating considerations throughout the highest ranges of the Biden administration.
President Biden has twice approved retaliatory airstrikes in opposition to Iran-backed militias on either side of the border since taking workplace in January, with questionable deterrent impact.
Al-Tanf had not been focused by a drone since 2017. Today’s assault suggests Iran’s pinprick provocations could as soon as once more be aimed on the web site, which serves as a key node in Washington’s post-IS technique to counter Iran’s affect within the area.
More than 100 US troops and their native militia companions stay at Tanf underneath the shared mandate of combating the Islamic State, however main US-led fight operations in opposition to IS in that a part of Syria wrapped up years in the past.
Instead, the bottom passively occupies a significant border crossing thought by US policymakers to be coveted by Iran-backed forces and the Assad regime.
US forces in Syria usually are not allowed to strike at fighters apart from IS and Al-Qaeda until appearing in self-defense. The US-led coalition has relied on that authority to disclaim pro-regime forces entry to the world up to now.
Meanwhile, Israel has performed tons of of airstrikes in opposition to Iran-linked targets in Syria lately, some with US intelligence help. The covert marketing campaign goals to forestall Iranian missiles and drones from arriving inside vary of the Israeli border.
Al-Tanf has performed a task in that effort, used as a waypoint by Israeli fighter plane that fly northeast alongside the Jordan-Syria border earlier than getting into Syrian airspace.
Last week a spate of Israeli strikes focused Iran-backed militias in Syria, drawing vows of retaliation from the teams. One of the strikes near Palmyra additionally killed a Syrian pro-regime soldier and injured three others, Syria’s protection ministry claimed.
The Syrian regime mentioned the alleged Israeli airstrike final week originated from the course of al-Tanf.