November 20, 2021
A few days ahead of resuming nuclear negotiations with Iran, the light was once again shed on last month’s attack against the US military base at Al-Tanf, located within the Syrian-Iraqi-Jordanian border triangle.
The drone attack on the remote US outpost in southern Syria was an Iranian retaliation for Israeli airstrikes in Syria, American and Israeli officials told the New York Times in a report published Friday.
No deaths or injuries were reported because of the attack.
Although Iran did not take responsibility for the attack, this is the first time Tehran directs a military strike against the US in retaliation to Israeli strikes. This means an escalation in the shadow war with Israel and an attempt to drag the US into that confrontation.
Five “suicide drones” were launched at the al-Tanf base on October 20, according to the report.
Two detonated on impact, and were loaded with ball bearings and shrapnel with a “clear intent to kill,” a senior US military official told the paper.
Most of the 200 American troops stationed at the base had been evacuated just hours before the attack, after being tipped off by Israeli intelligence, the officials said, according to the report.
At the time, Pentagon spokesman John Kirby called it a “complex, coordinated and deliberate attack,” without providing further details.
Although Kirby did not directly accuse Iran and preferred not to reveal more details about the attack, US officials indicated that they believed Iran “directed and supplied” militias loyal to it to stage the attack, according to the newspaper.
In part, Kirby’s reluctance to accuse Iran was to avoid upending talks to resume nuclear negotiations with Tehran, which are scheduled to resume at the end of the month.
Israeli and US intelligence officials stated that they had information indicating that Iran was behind the operation, as three of the drones that participated in the attack did not explode.
After their examination, it was confirmed that the undetonated drones were using the same technology that Iran-backed militias use in Iraq.