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US: Drone attack hit American base in Syria, no casualties

The al-Tanf military outpost in southern Syria, Oct. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Lolita Baldor)
The al-Tanf military outpost in southern Syria, Oct. 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Lolita Baldor)

BEIRUT — An attack with drones hit a compound run by American troops and US-backed Syrian opposition fighters in eastern Syria today, the US military says, adding that there are no casualties or damage.

The military says the attack took place in the vicinity of al-Tanf base near where the borders of Syria, Jordan and Iraq meet. There is no claim of responsibility for the attack.

US and coalition troops are based at al-Tanf to train Syrian forces on patrols to counter militants from the Islamic State jihadist 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 says 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 says 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 adds.

Maj. Gen. John Brennan, the commander of Combined Joint Task Force, condemns 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 airstrikes attributed to Israel on western and central Syria reportedly killed three soldiers, wounded three others and caused material damage. A report earlier today said the strikes targeted sites linked to Iran.

In October last year, US officials said they believed 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 US side of al-Tanf garrison and the side where Syrian opposition forces stay.

The October attacks came days after a reported Israeli airstrike on central Syria.

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