Lazy eyes listen
According to US Central Command, several explosives-laden drones have targeted an American military base in southern Syria, with one successfully striking the compound. Despite Damascus’ repeated calls for withdrawal, Washington maintains just under 1,000 troops in the Middle Eastern country.
According to CENTCOM, three suicide drones attacked the US garrison in Al-Tanf, Syria, on Friday morning, where American forces have long been stationed alongside militia fighters who previously sought to overthrow the Syrian government.
“Two of the drones were shot down by Coalition Forces while one struck the compound, injuring two members of the Syrian Free Army partner force who received medical treatment. “There were no US forces injured,” the military said, adding that such strikes are “unacceptable” because they “endanger our troops and partners and jeopardize the fight against ISIS.”
The Al-Tanf outpost, located near the three-way border crossing with Iraq and Syria, was established by US troops in 2016. They quickly joined a rebel faction known as Maghaweir al-Thowra (Commandos of the Revolution), which has since been renamed the Syrian Free Army (distinct from the former Free Syrian Army).
While Washington maintains that the “vetted opposition” group was formed to combat Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists and has abandoned its goal of deposing Syrian President Bashar Assad, it has been dogged by allegations of corruption and drug trafficking by its members in recent months. In September, the US-led coalition was forced to sack the group’s commander, with the military saying the move “occurred to ensure the long-term success” of the militia.
Similar drone attacks on the Al-Tanf garrison have occurred on several occasions over the years, with sporadic strikes by unknown actors. Last summer, Russian forces, which continue to back Damascus’ government, conducted several airstrikes in the area against a group of “US-trained and equipped” militants who allegedly “committed terrorist acts and killed civilians.”
In addition to the 200 US soldiers stationed at Al-Tanf, approximately 700 are stationed elsewhere in Syria, the majority in the country’s oil-rich northeast, where they have formed alliances with Kurdish fighters. The Syrian government has repeatedly declared Washington’s military presence illegal, accusing US forces of stealing vast quantities of the country’s energy resources.