ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Explainer

What is Tower 22, the site of a deadly drone attack on US troops in Jordan?

Little is publicly known about the base near the country’s borders with both Syria and Iraq

The al-Tanf military outpost in southern Syria is seen on October 22, 2018.  (AP Photo/Lolita Baldor, File)
The al-Tanf military outpost in southern Syria is seen on October 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Lolita Baldor, File)

Three US troops were killed and dozens wounded after a drone hit a military outpost in Jordan known as Tower 22 on Sunday.

Here is what is known about the base:

Location

Tower 22 holds a strategically important location in Jordan, at the most northeastern point where the country’s borders meet Syria and Iraq.

Purpose

Little is publicly known about the base. But it is near Al Tanf garrison, which is located across the border in Syria, and which houses a small number of US troops. Tanf had been key in the fight against Islamic State and has assumed a role as part of a US strategy to contain Iran’s military build-up in eastern Syria. Tower 22 is located close enough to US troops at Tanf that it could potentially help support them, while also potentially countering Iran-backed militants in the area and allowing troops to keep an eye on remnants of Islamic State in the region.

US troops in Jordan

Jordan’s army is one of the largest recipients of Washington’s foreign military financing.

Members of the Maghawir al-Thawra Syrian opposition group receive firearms training from US Army Special Forces soldiers at the al-Tanf military outpost in southern Syria on October 22, 2018. (AP Photo/Lolita Baldor)

The kingdom has hundreds of US trainers and is one of the few regional allies that hold extensive exercises with US troops throughout the year.

Since the start of the Syrian civil war in 2011, Washington has spent hundreds of millions of dollars to help Amman set up an elaborate surveillance system known as the Border Security Program to stem infiltration by militants from Syria and Iraq.

Many unknowns

It is unclear how many US troops are actually stationed on Tower 22. Also unclear are the type of weapons kept, air defenses used and what exactly went wrong.

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