Official Tells VOA Iran Believed Behind
Attack on US Troops in Syria
October 26, 2021
Iran is believed to be behind a drone attack
last week at the al-Tanf military outpost in
southern Syria where American troops are
based, two U.S. officials told VOA.
The officials, speaking on condition of
anonymity, said Iranian drones were used in
the attack, but they were not launched from
Iran. The drones were carrying explosives
that caused damage to buildings but no
injuries or deaths.
Five drones carried out the attack,
according to one of the officials.
U.S. and international troops at al-Tanf
have been training Syrians to counter
Islamic State militants.
The base sits on a major road that links
Baghdad, Iraq, to Damascus, Syria, close to
where the borders of Jordan, Iraq and Syria
converge. U.S. officials say Iran could use
the route to establish a continuous “land
bridge” from Tehran to the Mediterranean.
Pentagon press secretary John Kirby declined
to “get into attribution” when asked by VOA
who was responsible for the attack.
“We have seen these kinds of attacks in the
past from Shia militia groups, which we know
are backed and supported by Iran, but I'm
not going to talk specifics," he told
reporters at the Pentagon press briefing
“It was complex. It was deliberate,” he
the Biden administration says international
patience with Iran’s reluctance to reenter
nuclear talks is “wearing thin.” Robert
Malley, U.S. special envoy for Iran, said
the United States and its partners are
considering alternatives to a diplomatic
path but that any decision about future
options will depend on Iran’s actions.
The last major Iranian attack on U.S. forces
was in January 2020, when Tehran launched
several missiles at al-Asad air base in
Iraq. No U.S. service members were killed,
but more than 100 received traumatic brain
injuries as a result of the blasts.
The January 2020 attack was in response to
the U.S. drone strike earlier that month
near the Baghdad airport that killed Qassem
Soleimani, the Iran Quds Force commander who
oversaw activities of various militias in
Iraq. The strike also killed Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis,
the Iraqi founder of the Iranian-backed
militia group, Kataib Hezbollah.
U.S. fighter jets struck five sites in Iraq
two months later in retaliation for the
attack on al-Asad, targeting Kataib
Hezbollah weapons depots.