Late into the evening local time on Wednesday, a remote American military outpost in eastern Syria came under attack by unknown militants.
So far the Pentagon is indicating that there are no American casualties or injuries during what appears to have been a sophisticated assault, given the presence of foreign drones overhead along with reported ground fire.
It happened at the al-Tanf base in Syria's far eastern desert along the Iraqi border, which has had a significant US presence since at least 2016. Tanf is the furthermost southerly US garrison in that region, given that most American forward operating bases are in Syria's northeast.
The Associated Press has cited a US defense official who gave the following sparse details:
The official said the attack appeared to include at least one drone strike and possibly groundfire. It was not yet clear who carried out the attack.
US and coalition troops are based at the al-Tanf garrison to train local Syrian opposition forces on patrols to counter Islamic State militants.
Additionally, "The official said there was no information on whether local forces were injured or killed in the attack." Reports suggest the UAV may have been a suicide drone.
Confirmed— Nafiseh Kohnavard (@nafisehkBBC) October 20, 2021
Drone attack on US troops in Al Tanf, Syria.
Local sources claim multiple drones were involved in tonight’s attack. “Some coming from Iraq-Syria border”
Military sources at the moment though say only a suicide drone targeted the base.
Likely, Washington will point fingers at Iran-backed militias operating in the Iraq-Syria border region, given US forces have previously attacked militia garrisons on both sides of the Border, including two major strikes ordered by President Joe Biden earlier this year.
There's also the possibility that pro-Assad forces carried out this fresh attack on Tanf; however, it was unlikely carried out directly by the Syrian Army, given it would easily invite US retaliation on Damascus.
The attack further comes after Israel has stepped up its airstrikes inside Syria, which Tel Aviv has consistently said is toward disrupting pro-Iranian forces and their operations in the Levant region.