Top US officer visits Tanaf base in southeastern Syria
The US officer General ”Joseph Fotel”; The top U.S. commander for the Middle East, visited the bordering Tanaf base with Jordan.
“The top U.S. commander for the Middle East made an unannounced visit Monday to a key military outpost in southern Syria, pressing the need for a continued U.S. presence there to root out remaining Islamic State fighters and serve as leverage against growing Iranian activity in the region” Associated Press reported.
The visit comes after a month of military drills conducted by US forces in the vicinity of Al-Tanf, in which the Marines participated.
Gen. Joseph Votel said the outpost near the Iraq and Jordan borders still serves an important purpose even though U.S. and coalition troops have “largely eliminated” the Islamic State group from the area. But he said the overall mission has not shifted into a counter-Iran campaign.
Al-Tanf, an affiliate of the International Alliance, is located at the Tanf border crossing between Syria, Jordan and Iraq.
“We have a defeat ISIS mission,” the US officer said, referring to the Islamic State group. “But I do recognize that our presence, our development of partners and relationships down here does have an indirect effect on some of the malign activities that Iran and their various proxies and surrogates would like to pursue down here.”
Russia considers the presence of the US base on Syrian soil is illegal and constantly demands to leave the area, but the US response was to deploy more troops there.
“There are 200 to 300 U.S. and coalition troops there to train and accompany local Syrian opposition forces on patrols to counter the IS group“. AP reported.