A United States military base in northeast Syria has come under heavy shelling, according to reports. The US base under attack is located near an oil field and is one of the largest remaining on Syrian territory, Sputnik News reported, citing sources.
"The missile attack was carried out on the US base at the Al-Omar oil field, the sounds of explosions were heard inside the US base," the Russian outlet cited a source as saying. The shelling happened on Sunday evening.
Why Are American Troops in Syria?
Though American troops have all but completely pulled back from Syrian territory, some units have stayed back in crucial areas to continue the fight against the ISIS terrorists.
The US base that came under attack was located near the Al-Omar field. Smoke and flames were reported following the attack and the US military carried out reconnaissance from aircraft following the attack. There were no reports of injuries or casualties among US soldiers, the report added.
Meanwhile, a press release by the US Central Command, which confirmed the incident, said the strike failed to strike US or Coalition forces or equipment.
"Three 107mm rockets targeted the base. A fourth rocket along with rocket tubes was found at the launch point, approximately 5 kilometers away ... US forces in northeast Syria are investigating the incident," the statement said.
"Three 107mm rockets targeted the base. A fourth rocket along with rocket tubes was found at the launch point, approximately 5 kilometers away," it added.
Though the US largely stayed out of actively participating in the Syrian war, it US had helped the creation of the Syrian Democratic Forces, which largely consists of the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) militia. The killing of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was the high point of the role of the US forces in Syria.
The US forces also launched direct attacks against the Syrian government forces following chemical attacks against the anti-Assad fighters in 2017 and 2018.
Even as the conflict is on a low ebb following the defeat of the ISIS by the forces of Syrian president Bashar al-Asssad and the Russians, the US still has some forces located in the SDF-controlled areas of northeastern Syria, like Hassakeh and Raqqa provinces.
Limiting Iran's Influence
Another goal of the US's continued presence in Syria is to curtail the rising influence of Iran in the region. Like the US, Russia has also stationed its forces in and around Syria, pursuing its own geopolitical goals.
Last month, an Israeli air strike in the region, targeting Hezbollah-allied militants, inadvertently endangered the Russian navy's only Mediterranean base. The Israeli air strike happened when warships were docked in the region.