Instead of evacuating its boxed-in base the US is piling on
You would think that when Syrian forces surprised the Pentagon and effectively neutralized the US base in southern Syria by cutting it off from coveted ISIS-held eastern Syria this would have helped to defuse the standoff there.
However, rather than contemplating retreat from what is now an almost completely useless and strategically irrelevant occupation zone the US military is for some reason doubling down instead.
CNN has learned that the US has moved its long range rocket artillery from Jordan to southern Syria:
The US military has moved its High Mobility Artillery Rocket System (HIMARS) from Jordan into southern Syria for the first time, positioning it near the US-Coalition training base at At Tanf, three US defense officials confirmed to CNN Tuesday.
HIMARS, a truck-mounted system which can fire missiles as far as 300 kilometers, represents a major boost to US combat power near At Tanf, a location that has come under the spotlight following a series of recent coalition strikes against pro-regime forces operating in the area.
HIMARS had been previously used to strike ISIS targets from firing positions in Turkey and Jordan. The system has also been deployed in Iraq to hit ISIS positions there.
To what end was this long range artillery driven across the border? With a reach of 300 kilometers it could have comfortably defended the US al-Tanf base from Jordan.
If anything driving them to Syria makes the rocket launchers more exposed for political and tactical reasons alike.
However, they are now able to reach even deeper into Syria. Sitting at al-Tanf HIMARS can hit as far north as Hama, Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor.
Also by having the artillery in Syria the US can perhaps use it more freely, as artillery strikes from Jordan might be a burden on its Syria relations that Amman might not be ready to bear.