US-led coalition forces repel drone attack near base in Syria

The attempted attack caused no casualties or damage, said a statement from Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, the global coalition to defeat what remains of the Islamic State caliphate in Iraq and Syria.

US-led coalition forces repelled all but one of the drones that attacked near the At-Tanf base. A drone exploded at a compound used by partner forces of Maghaweir al-Thowra, causing « zero casualties or damage reported », the statement said.

« We are confident in our ability to protect our troops and coalition partners from air attack, » Col. Joe Buccino, director of public affairs for U.S. Central Command, said in the statement. « Our countermeasures are effective. »

Coalition forces « succeeded in engaging a ‘drone’ preventing its impact, » the statement said. Other drones that attempted to strike « were unsuccessful, » the statement added.

Operation Inherent Resolve did not specify who was responsible for the drone attacks. However, Iran-backed militias in the region have frequently targeted US troops in Syria and Iraq.

Major General John Brennan, commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve, said the attack undermines « meaningful efforts by our partner forces to maintain the enduring defeat of ISIS ».

« Such attacks put the lives of innocent Syrian civilians at risk and undermine the important efforts of our partner forces to maintain the enduring defeat of ISIS, » Brennan said. « Coalition personnel retain the right to self-defense, and we will take appropriate action to protect our forces. »

The United States maintains about 900 troops in Syria, widely split between the At-Tanf base and the oil fields in the east of the country.

The base sits in a 20 square mile deconfliction zone near Syria’s border with Jordan, which was established by Russia and the US-led coalition to prevent the two sides from accidentally coming into contact.

The area has seen heavy fighting in recent years between US forces and the Islamic State, which has gained a foothold in the area.

In January, the US military carried out strikes in Syria after indirect fire posed what a US-led coalition official called an « imminent threat » to troops near Green Village, a base in the east of the country near the Iraqi border.

Although there was no specific attribution for indirect fire, then-Pentagon press secretary John Kirby said the United States continued to see threats against American forces in the region by Iranian-backed militias.

“In the past few days alone, some of these groups have committed acts that validate the ongoing concerns we have for the safety and security of our people,” Kirby said at a press conference in January.

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