- Isis fighters used a car bomb in attempt to blow way into the al-Tanf garrison
- Blast on Sunday morning was followed by ground attack by up to 30 IS fighters
- Militants also ambushed a convoy of reinforcements from an allied rebel group
Jihadists have launched a wave of suicide attacks on a British SAS training base in Syria in one of the fiercest assaults on coalition forces in the country to date.
Islamic State fighters used a car bomb in an attempt to blow their way into the al-Tanf garrison, which has been used by SAS and US special forces to train moderate Syrian rebels.
The blast on Sunday morning was followed by a ground attack by up to 30 IS fighters, but they were beaten back with coalition air strikes.
During the fighting the militants also ambushed a convoy of reinforcements from an allied rebel group, Osoud al Sharqiya.
Four rebels and eight IS fighters were reportedly killed.
Tanf, near the Syria-Iraq-Jordan border, has been a fortified training hub used by US and British forces to train Syrian rebel groups fighting the extremists.
American troops were understood to be on the outpost at the time. There was no confirmation British special forces were present, but rebel officials confirmed to the Telegraph that they used Tanf as a ‘mobile base’.
The Ministry of Defence said it would not comment on special forces operations. Russia bombed the garrison in June 2016, however no injures were reported.
American and British troops are understood to be expanding the Tanf base to use it as a major launch pad to oust militants from Abu Kamal, a major supply conduit for IS between its strongholds in Iraq and Syria.
In southern Syria, coalition-backed opposition forces have helped counter the IS threat and maintained security along the Syria-Jordan border.
In recent weeks, IS militants in the Syrian desert have regrouped further north to reinforce their Raqqa stronghold, after major defeats in Syria and Iraq.
Recent attacks are intended to show IS is still capable of waging operations against the Western-backed rebels who have recently seized a swathe of territory stretching from the town of Bir Qasab, near Damascus, to the borders with Iraq and Jordan, a desert area known as the Badia.
One rebel commander said: ‘Their message is we are still present in the area and have not withdrawn and we still target us.’
Western intelligence sources have worried for months that militants fleeing from their strongholds of Raqqa in Syria and Mosul in Iraq could find a safe haven in the region.
However, US-backed groups in the area have previously accused their chief backer of offering lukewarm support.
An operation by the New Syrian Army to retake the town of Abu Kamal in June last year went badly after jihadists ambushed the fighters, killing several and taking their equipment.
The group blamed the Americans for not providing air cover. It later emerged that US jets were withdrawn in the middle of the battle to take part in the battle of the city of Fallujah in Iraq.