Location of attack that claimed US lives
Background on US positions in Syria and Jordan
In a recent surge of hostilities, key military bases in the Middle East, including Al-Tanf Garrison, Rukban Camp, Tower 22, and Al-Shaddadi Base, have come under the spotlight following coordinated attacks claimed by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq. These bases, situated in Syria and Jordan, are pivotal in the regional security architecture and the ongoing counter-ISIS operations, underscoring their heightened strategic importance amidst escalating tensions.
At-Tanf Garrison, Syria
Located at a strategic juncture near the Syrian, Iraqi, and Jordanian borders, the U.S. garrison at Al-Tanf has been operational since 2016. This outpost is significant for counter-ISIS operations and training Syrian opposition factions, including the Free Syria Army, formerly known as Magahweir Al-Thowra.
Al-Tanf sits on the critical Baghdad-Damascus highway, making it a potential flashpoint in U.S. interactions with Iranian and Iran-backed forces in the region. A 55-km de-confliction zone established by U.S. forces at Al-Tanf is aimed at reducing tensions, but the area remains contested, with pro-regime and “Iran-backed” forces in close proximity. Furthermore, the nearby Al-Rukban camp, under U.S. security control, faces humanitarian challenges due to blocks on incoming aid via land routes, with around 8,000 displaced individuals reportedly living in difficult conditions.
Tower 22, Jordan
Tower 22 is situated in Jordan, at the northeastern point where the borders of Jordan, Syria, and Iraq converge. Since the Syrian conflict erupted in 2011, the U.S. has invested heavily in Jordan’s border security program to prevent militant infiltration from Syria and Iraq. The exact number of U.S. troops and the nature of the defenses at Tower 22 remain unclear, though Reuters reports 350 U.S. airforce and army personnel. Its strategic location makes it a key surveillance and defense point in the region.
This is the location which saw three U.S. service members killed in a drone strike last night.
Al-Shaddadi Base, Al-Hasaka Province, Syria
Located near the oil-rich city of Al-Shaddadi in Al-Hasakah province, this base plays a crucial role in the region’s military dynamics. Housing around 350 U.S. personnel, Al-Shaddadi base facilitates movements for Coalition Forces between Iraq and Syria. The base is situated within a gas plant and is equipped for helicopter landings and drone operations. Al-Shaddadi, containing significant oil reservoirs, is strategically vital for controlling oil resources in eastern Syria. Once a stronghold of the Islamic State (ISIS), Al-Shaddadi was taken over by the Free Syrian Army in 2013 before falling to ISIS in 2014, and is now under U.S. control.