Earlier today, the United States attacked a convoy of vehicles loyal to Syrian Dictator Bashar Assad for coming close to a U.S. base. Al Jazeera reported that the airstrike destroyed two tanks, killed six soldiers, and wounded several others. This is the second major U.S. strike against the Assad Regime following the destruction of a Syrian Air Force base which wiped out a fifth of Syria’s Air Force, according to General Mattis.
Once again, U.S. Officials stated that the attack was a response to a specific action and not necessarily an indication of increasing U.S. involvement in Syria. Defense Secretary James Mattis told the media, “We’re not increasing our role in the Syrian civil war, but we will defend our troops, and that is a coalition element made up of more than just U.S. troops, and so we’ll defend ourselves.”
The base was located in al-Tanf, Syria, which was previously used by the U.S. for training rebels. The United States has cooperated with rebel forces in the region, including the Free Syrian Army, against ISIS and had previously warned the Assad Regime against violating safe zones under American protection.
Al-Tanf is a strategically important region to the Assad Regime because it would connect regime forces to Iraq and also provide an additional land route for shipments from Assad’s ally, Iran. It remains to be seen whether Assad will again challenge America and its allies, but President Trump has demonstrated that our word is good, and that we stand with our friends.
On the international stage, and specifically within Syria, this strike demonstrates that President Trump is committed to upholding our defense agreements with American allies, as well as similar commitments made before his presidency. While Hillary Clinton notably waffled on whether or not she would use military force to defend a Syrian safe zone, President Trump proved today that he was willing to do just that.