Iran is believed to have been behind last week's drone attack on the Al-Tanf base in southern Syria where US troops have been based since 2016, in what Central Command described as a "deliberate and coordinated" strike, although there were no reported injuries.
However yesterday US officials said Iran resourced and encouraged the attack involving five drones launched from within Syria. AP reported that officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, claimed that the drones were Iranian and that Iran appears to have facilitated their use. The details have yet to be made public.
Pentagon spokesperson John Kirby declined to provide details when asked by reporters during a press conference yesterday, but did acknowledge it was a "complex, coordinated and deliberate attack". He also said the US has seen similar ones before from pro-Iranian Shia groups.
The protection and security of our troops overseas remains a paramount concern for the secretary," Kirby said, referring to Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin, "and that if there is to be a response, it will be at a time and a place and a manner of our choosing, and we certainly won't get ahead of those kinds of decisions."
READ: Drone attack targets US base in Syria, no injuries reported
He also declined to say whether or not US troops were warned ahead of time or if the US intends to respond militarily. However, according to an exclusive report by Fox News, the US military was tipped off prior to the attack. Some 200 US troops were evacuated by C-130 transport planes, with about two dozen soldiers remaining.
Meanwhile, Iranian-affiliated media referred to the attack as being carried out by "Syria's allies" in retaliation for an attack several days before near Palmyra which was blamed on Israel with possible US involvement as the missiles were said to fly from the direction of the US base, which is close to the Jordan border.
Earlier this month it was reported that Iran has established a new military brigade largely consisting of local Shia converts, called the Hashemiyoun Brigade, it is thought to have been active since mid-August.
The Al-Tanf base was originally established as part of US efforts in combating Daesh but also serves to disrupt a strategically important route that connects Iranian-backed forces from Tehran to southern Lebanon and Israel. Approximately 900 US troops remain in Syria concentrated mainly at the Al-Tanf base and the Kurdish-held areas in the country's northeast.
READ: Iran establishes new brigade in eastern Syria composed of local Shia converts