On the night of April 8th, a U.S. Special Forces Forward Operating Base in Syria was nearly overrun when they came under attack by ISIS. The attack occurred in Al-Tanf, which is located near where the Syrian, Jordanian, and Iraqi borders intersect. Throughout the Syrian Civil War, most ISIS assaults have kicked off with a vehicular-borne improvised explosive device or VBIED. This was no exception, an ISIS suicide bomber driving his vehicle right up to the gate at Al-Tanf and exploding himself. The attack itself was widely reported in the media with a Pentagon official going as far as to say that the enemy, “got crushed” which they did. Various fake news websites reported that US Special Forces met ISIS in hand to hand combat, which they did not.
The Special Forces FOB is part of a long-standing program called Operation Gallant Phoenix designed to train indigenous partner forces in Syria and deploy them against ISIS. A more in-depth look at these programs can be found in a past SOFREP article. On that Saturday night, ISIS launched their complex attack against the base, initiating with the VBIED and then having their Jihadists form an assault line and open fire with Rocket Propelled Grenades and light machine guns.
Stationed on the base were elements of 2nd Battalion and 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group. Also present were members of Norwegian Special Operations (NORSOF). Well regarded within the Special Operations community, NORSOF consists of a ground based unit called FSK (Forsvarets Spesialkommando) and a maritime based unit called MJK. Marinejegerkommandoen (MJK), Norwary’s answer to the Navy SEALs was the unit present at Al Tanf that night. With approximately 16 local partner force soldiers cut down in the attack, the Green Berets and Norwegian SEALs launched their counter attack.