Iran-Backed Militia Launches Drone Attack at American Military Base in Syria

A drone attack targeted an American army base Al-Tanf in Syria's Homs on Wednesday. The attack was "deliberate and coordinated", according to U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in the Middle East.

In a statement to Anadolu Agency late on Wednesday, a U.S. official confirmed the attack on the Al Tanf military base in Syria's southwestern Rif Dimashq governorate where US forces are deployed.

No casualties were reported but the damage assessment is ongoing. "We know of no casualties," an official said on condition of anonymity to the AFP news agency.

Drone strike
Representational Image/ Twitter

One U.S. official stated that the attack "at a minimum" involved drones and "indirect fire," the military term for mortar or rocket fire.

The base houses U.S. coalition forces, in Homs Governorate to train local Syrian opposition forces on patrols to counter Islamic State militants. The base is also located on a road serving as a vital link for Iranian-backed forces from Tehran to all the way to southern Lebanon and Israel, according to The Associated Press.

Al-Tanf is approximately 220 km (137 miles) east of Damascus. The area has seen heavy fighting in recent years between US forces and ISIS, which has held a foothold in the area, according to CNN.

Iranian-Backed Militias Behind the Drone Attack?

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although Iranian-backed militias are likely behind it. Similar drone attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq have been a tactic used by Iranian-backed militias, most notably Kataib Hezbollah, reported ABC News.

Iran's national flag
Iran's national flag Reuters

On October 14, pro-Iranian militias in Syria vowed a "very harsh" response to an alleged Israeli-American strike against their facilities near the city of Palmyra in central Syria the night before, which they said killed and injured several of their members, reported The Times of Israel.

The groups referring to themselves collectively as the "Syria Allies Operations Room" and said in a statement that the attack was conducted through Jordan and the area of Al-Tanf.

Neither Israel nor the US has acknowledged conducting the attack near Palmyra.

At present, increased security measures are likely at and near the Al-Tanf base after the drone attack. There is possibility of further retaliatory actions and air strikes. "We continue to maintain all appropriate force protection measures to ensure the safety and security of our forces," the U.S. statement said. "We maintain the inherent right to self-defense and will respond at a time and place of our choosing."