Operation Inherent Resolve, a joint joint task force launched by the global coalition to defeat what remains of the ISIS caliphate in Iraq and Syria, did not result in casualties or damage.
US-led coalition forces withdrew all but one of the drones from the vicinity of the At-Tanf base. A drone exploded in a compound used by Maghawer al-Thoura partner forces causing “zero casualties or damage,” the release said.
“We are confident in our ability to protect our forces and coalition partners from air strikes,” Col. Joe Buccino, director of public affairs for United States Central Command, said in a press release. “Our countermeasures are effective.”
Coalition forces “successfully engaged one” drone and intercepted its impact, the release said. Other drones that attempted to strike were “unsuccessful,” the release added.
Operation Inherent Resolve did not say who was responsible for the drone strike. However, Iran-backed militias in the region have repeatedly targeted US forces in Syria and Iraq.
Maj. Gen. John Brennan, commander of Joint Joint Task Force — Operation Inherent Resolve, said the attack “undercuts the vital efforts of our partner forces to sustain the lasting defeat of ISIS.”
“Such attacks put the lives of innocent Syrian civilians at risk and undermine the vital efforts of our partner forces to sustain the lasting defeat of ISIS,” Brennan said. “Coalition personnel have the right to self-defense and we will take appropriate measures to protect our forces.”
The U.S. maintains roughly 900 troops in Syria, largely split between the At-Tanf base and the country’s eastern oil fields.
The base is located in a 20-square-mile deconfliction zone near Jordan’s border with Syria, which was established by a Russia- and US-led coalition to prevent the two sides from coming into accidental contact.
The area has seen heavy fighting in recent years between the US military and ISIS, which has gained a foothold in the area.
In January, U.S. forces launched strikes in Syria after a U.S.-led coalition official said indirect fire posed a “severe threat” to troops near Green Village, a base in the country’s east near the Iraqi border.
Although there was no specific attribution for indirect fire, then-Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby said the US saw a threat to US forces in the region from Iran-backed militias.
“Over the past few days, there have been acts by some of these groups that confirm the continued concern we have about the safety and security of our people,” Kirby said at a news briefing in January.