Tower 22: What to know about the military base that was attacked in Jordan

JERUSALEM (AP) — A little-known U.S. military desert outpost in remote parts of northeastern Jordan has become the focus of international attention after a drone attack killed three American soldiers and wounded at least 34 others.

The base, known as Tower 22, is located near the demilitarized zone along the sandy, bulldozed berm that marks the southern edge of the DMZ on the border between Jordan and Syria. The Iraqi border is only 10 kilometers (6 mi) away.

The area is known as Rukban, a vast arid area where a refugee camp emerged on the Syrian side following the rise of the Islamic State group's so-called caliphate in 2014.

At its peak, more than 100,000 people lived there, whom Jordan blocked from coming to the kingdom at the time due to concerns about infiltration by the extremist group. These concerns were heightened by a car bomb attack there in 2016, which killed seven Jordanian border guards.

According to UN estimates, about 7,500 people remain in the camp due to lack of supplies and time constraints.

The base began as a monitoring post on the Jordanian border, then saw an increased American presence there after US troops entered Syria in late 2015. The small installation includes US engineering, aviation, logistics and security troops, with approximately 350 US Army and Air Force personnel deployed there. There.

The base's location provides a place for US forces to infiltrate and quietly leave Syria. A small American garrison at al-Tanf in Syria is just 20 kilometers (12 mi) north of Tower 22. That base is along the Syrian highway that leads to Iraq and ultimately Mosul, once a major base for the Islamic State group. It is also a potential arms shipment route by road to Iran.

US troops have long used the state, which borders Jordan, Iraq, Israel, the Palestinian territories of the West Bank, Saudi Arabia and Syria, as a base. About 3,000 US troops are normally deployed across Jordan.

However, the US presence in Jordan risks angering a population that is already mass demonstrating against Israel's war on Hamas in the Gaza Strip, with civilian casualties in the conflict numbering more than 26,000 Palestinians. Has died. It is estimated that about 3 million of Jordan's 11.5 million people are Palestinians.

Widespread unrest could threaten the rule of King Abdullah II, a key US ally. Following Sunday's attack, Jordan initially denied that the Tower 22 base existed within its borders.

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