Iran behind drone attack on US base in Syria: report
U.S. officials reportedly believe that Iran was likely behind a drone attack last week on a military base in southern Syria that houses American forces.
Officials believe that Iran provided resources and encouraged the attack at a military outpost in al-Tanf, Syria, The Associated Press reported, but that drones used to carry out the attack were not launched from Iran.
The attack is believed to have included five drones laden with explosive charges, U.S. officials told the AP, which noted that both the U.S. side of the al-Tanf base and the Syrian side were hit.
No injuries or deaths were reported from the attack.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby declined to assign responsibility during a briefing with reporters on Monday, saying that the U.S. has seen these types of attacks from Shia militia groups that receive backing from Iran.
“I’m not going to talk specifics on this particular attack,” he said. “It was complex, it was deliberate, and thankfully … we don’t have any indication right now that any U.S. service members were hurt.”
U.S. and international troops are based in al-Tanf to train Syrian forces as part of the global coalition to defeat ISIS.
Pro-Iranian media outlets reportedly said the attack was carried out by “Syria’s Allies,” which the AP noted is an apparent reference to Iran-backed groups. The pro-Iran media outlets reportedly said the drone assault was carried out as retaliation for an attack in the Syrian city of Palmyra days earlier in which one Syrian soldier was killed and three others were wounded.
Israel, which has carried out operations in Syria in what it says is an effort to prevent weapons transfers from Iran and its supporters to Hezbollah fighters in southern Lebanon, was reportedly behind the Palmyra attack.
Relations are strained between Iran, its Middle East and Gulf partners and Western nations over stalled efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear agreement.
The U.S. has placed the blame on Iran for failing to return to a seventh round of talks to revive the nuclear deal, which former President Trump withdrew from in 2018.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this month said amid meetings he held in Washington with officials from Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia that the U.S. was prepared to explore “other options” when it comes to dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.