U.S.-led coalition forces in Syria are reinforcing their garrison near the crucial Al-Tanf border crossing amid a buildup of pro-government troops nearby, a U.S. military official said Thursday.
"We have increased our presence and our footprint and prepared for any threat that is presented by the pro-regime forces," Colonel Ryan Dillon, spokesman for the coalition in Baghdad, told journalists by video conference.
Al-Tanf, on the key highway connecting Damascus with Baghdad, has been menaced by a surge of Iran-backed troops loyal to Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. The area, also just northeast of the Jordanian border, is used by coalition forces as a training and staging area for attacks against the Islamic State group.
Coalition planes on May 18 pounded the front of a government convoy that had apparently been headed toward the Al-Tanf garrison.
That strike occurred inside an established "deconfliction zone" covering a 55 kilometer (34 mile) radius around the base. The Pentagon said it appeared that the Syrian government troops were trying to build a "fire base" for artillery units inside the zone.