ISIS launched a surprise offensive on the Tanf Border Crossing between Syria and Iraq following a powerful car bomb attack on the border outpost which killed three insurgents from the FSA’s Osoud al Sharqiyah (Lions of the East).
US-backed Syrian rebels were quickly surrounded by a group of ISIS fighters who have prowessed desert warfare and maneuvers prompting US and Jordanian troops to intervene hurriedly to lift the pressure off their Syrian allies. Some 20 US tanks and armored vehicles were allegedly involved in repelling the ISIS assault. Jordanian jets were seen by eye witnesses; though it remains unknown whether airstrikes were carried out. Whether this is a minor intervention limited to protecting FSA fighters allied to the US-led Coalition or a prelude to a much more expansive operation aimed at expelling the Islamic State terror group from the Syrian Badiyah (desert) is yet to be seen. Notably, a US-led effort last year with the now-disintegrated New Syrian Army (NSA) to seize al Mayadeen faltered pathetically as ISIS captured dozens of fighters, armored vehicles, and US equipment following a swift counterattack. The new US administration may be interested in renewing such efforts against ISIS as the weakened terrorist group collapses on several fronts across Syria and Iraq losing grip of Mosul and inching closer to fated doom in its self-proclaimed capital of Raqqa as the predominantly-Kurdish SDF lays siege to the city.