After receiving a tip about an imminent Iranian-backed drone and rocket attack on a base in Syria last week, U.S. forces housed there quietly evacuated the base, unnamed military officials told Fox News on Monday. Upon returning to the base, U.S. troops reportedly found fragments from exploded munitions in places where they slept and stood guard.
On Wednesday, a still-unidentified group had used small drones and indirect fire weapons to target Al Tanf Garrison in southeast Syria. In a statement to American Military News, U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) spokesman Navy Capt. Bill Urban, said, “We can confirm that the Al Tanf Garrison area was subjected to a deliberate and coordinated attack. Based on initial reports, the attack utilized both unmanned aerial systems and indirect fire.”
“All U.S. personnel have been accounted for, and we are not aware of any injuries to U.S. personnel at this time,” Urban added of the attack on the U.S. garrison. “We continue to work with our partners to confirm whether they suffered any casualties as a result of this deliberate attack.”
On Monday, Fox News correspondent Lucas Tomlinson tweeted, “U.S. military tipped off to attack on base housing American troops in Syria last week and moved them prior to the drone strike: U.S. officials. Bomb fragments later found where U.S. troops sleep. U.S. officials blame Iran for launching 5 drones. No U.S. troops killed or injured.”
The U.S. officials told Fox News they believe Iran authorized proxy forces and provided resources for their attack. The officials do not believe the attack, which they said employed five drones to target the base housing hundreds of U.S. forces, originated in Iran.
According to Fox News, Al Tanf Garrison is situated along a road that serves as a link between Tehran and Iranian-backed forces who train Syrian forces to fight ISIS.
During a Monday press briefing, Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby did not share the same information about U.S. troops being evacuated from the Al Tanf Garrison before the attack but did say the attack was similar to past ones carried out by Iran-backed Shia militia groups.
“I’m not in a position to get into attribution at this point,” Kirby said. “We have seen these kinds of attacks in the past from — from Shia militia groups, which we know are backed and supported by Iran. But I’m not going to talk to specifics on — on this particular attack.
Asked whether he could say with certainty that the attack was carried out by a Shia militia, Kirby said, “I said we’ve seen those kinds — we’ve seen these kinds of attacks before; I’m not going to get into specific attribution on this one.”