Officials: Iran behind drone attack on US base in Syria

Pro-Iranian media say the drone attack on Americans, Syrian allies in al-Tanf was in response to the Israeli strike on Palmyra.

U.S. officials believe Iran was behind a drone attack last week on a military outpost in al-Tanf in southern Syria, where U.S. troops are based.

Officials said Monday that the United States believed Iran provided resources and encouraged the attack, but the drones had not been launched from Iran, the Associated Press news agency reported.

The drones were Iranian and Iran appears to have made it easier to use them, officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss details that have not been made public.

Officials said they believed the attacks involved up to five drones loaded with explosive charges and affected both the US side of al-Tanf garrison and the side where US forces reside. Syrian opposition.

There were no injuries or deaths as a result of the attack, but it comes within a period of increasing tensions between the United States and Iran. The Biden administration said this week that international diplomatic efforts to bring Iran back into a 2015 nuclear deal were at a critical juncture. “critical place” and that the patience of the United States was running out.

US and coalition troops are based in al-Tanf to train Syrian forces to patrol to counter Islamic State militants. The base is located on a road that serves as a lifeline for Iranian-backed forces from Tehran to southern Lebanon and to Israel.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards unveiled a new drone with a 35-hour flight time capable of carrying 13 bombs over 2,000 kilometers (1,240 miles) in May [Sepahnews via AP]

Pentagon spokesman John Kirby declined to provide details when asked about the report at a press conference on Monday.

Kirby called it a “complex, coordinated and deliberate attack” and said the United States had seen it in Iran-backed Shiite militias before. But he declined to go into details and said he had no update on the ammunition used in the attack.

Kirby also declined to say whether the troops had been warned in advance or whether the United States intended to respond militarily.

“The protection and safety of our troops overseas remains a primary concern for the secretary,” Kirby said.

If there is to be an answer, it will be when, where and how we choose, and we’re certainly not going to get ahead of those kinds of decisions, ”Kirby said.

Pro-Iranian media said the attack on al-Tanf was carried out by “allies of Syria” – an apparent reference to Iranian-backed groups – in retaliation for a Israeli strike days earlier near the historic ancient Syrian city of Palmyra. Israel has been blamed for the attack, but US officials say the US military was not involved.

The United States provides $ 3.5 billion a year to support the IDF. The Israeli airstrike near Palmyra killed a Syrian soldier and three pro-Iran fighters, according to a UK-based war observer.

“You can consider that the strike on al-Tanf was an implementation” of previous promises by Syrian allies to retaliate in Palmyra, according to an official of the Resistance Axis, an anti-Western political-military alliance that includes the Iran, Syria, Hezbollah and other groups fighting alongside the forces of Syrian President Bashar Assad.

The last major Iranian attack on US forces took place in January 2020, when Tehran launched a ballistic missile barrage at al-Asad air base in Iraq.

U.S. and coalition troops were warned of the incoming missiles and were able to take cover, but more than 100 U.S. servicemen suffered traumatic brain injuries from the blasts.

The Iranian attack was in response to the US drone strike earlier this month near Baghdad airport which killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Two months after the assault on al-Asad, US fighter jets struck five sites in retaliation, targeting members of the Iran-backed Shiite militia suspected of being responsible for the rocket attack on January.

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