US: Drone attack targets US base in Syria, no casualties
BEIRUT (AP) — An attack with drones hit a compound run by American troops and U.S.-backed Syrian opposition fighters in eastern Syria on Monday, the U.S. military said, adding that there were no casualties or damage.
The military said the attack took place in the vicinity of al-Tanf base near where the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq meet. There was no claim of responsibility for the attack.
U.S. and coalition troops are based at al-Tanf to train Syrian forces on patrols to counter militants from the Islamic State group. The base is also located on a road serving as a vital link for Iranian-backed forces, stretching from Tehran all the way to Lebanon.
The military statement said coalition troops in coordination with opposition fighters — known as Maghaweir al-Thowra — “responded to an attack by multiple unmanned aerial systems in the vicinity of al-Tanf Garrison” on Monday morning.
It said the troops successfully engaged one of the drones preventing its impact while a second one detonated within the opposition forces’ compound, “resulting in zero casualties or reported damage.” The other attempted drone strikes were not successful, it added.
Maj. Gen. John Brennan, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force, condemned the drone strike. “Such attacks put the lives of innocent Syrian civilians at risk and undermine the significant efforts by our Partner Forces to maintain the lasting defeat of ISIS,” he said, using an acronym for the Islamic State group.
The attack occurred hours after Israeli airstrikes on western and central Syria killed three soldiers, wounded three others and caused material damage.
A Syrian opposition war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, said the Israeli strikes hit Syrian army positions where Iran-backed fighters are based.
Drone attacks on al-Tanf have been rare.
In October last year, U.S. officials said they believe Iran was behind a drone attack that month in al-Tanf saying at the time that they believe that the attacks involved as many as five drones laden with explosive charges. It said the drones hit both the U.S. side of al-Tanf garrison and the side where Syrian opposition forces stay.
The October attacks came days after an Israeli airstrike on central Syria.
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