(I am not used to posting when I do not have a clear understanding of what has happened, and is happening. But this story* is so important, I feel I must, at least, provide the facts as they currently exist. I must leave to you readers to assess what they mean.)
As of before last Thursday, U.S. forces, along with coalition forces and Syrian rebels (a mixture of recruits--trained and "in training"), maintained a base in southern Syria at al-Tanf, a strategic town located at a point where three countries, Syria, Jordan and Iraq, share a border. The town is strategic because it is along a major ground supply route between Baghdad and Damascus.
Sometime on Thursday (Syrian time), U.S. troops were told to bug-out from their base and take "shelter" in the desert south of the town (exactly where, in Jordan or Iraq, was not disclosed).
On Friday, of course, U.S. naval forces launched the 59-missile attack on the al-Shayrat airbase, from which, the U.S. alleges, planes with chemical ordinance lifted off.
On Saturday, apparently learning of the virtual abandonment of the base in al-Tanf (only a few rebels reportedly remained as a "security force"), ISIS forged a coordinated attack (reported to be with an unknown number of "locals"), beginning with a vehicle bomb, which blew open the front gate. There followed a fire-fight between the Rebels and about 20-30 ISIS troops, some wearing suicide vests, plus an unknown number of "locals".
While not stated from where, the U.S. forces that had left and either had relocated, or where still looking to do so, learned of the attack.
By this time, the expected rhetoric over the airbase attack, as well as wildly varying reports of T***p's bewildering 180-degree "policy" toward Syria, had flooded all airways. The U.S. forces had, already, been warned that there might be Syrian or Russian forces' retaliation (thus the reason why they left the base), and they were warned of possible conflict when encountering Syrian or Russian ground troops**. With the existing threat from ISIS, like the embattled "Light Brigade" of epic fame, U.S. forces now faced a three-sided "front".
There was no word on when, or if, U.S. forces would return to the base. However, upon learning of the ISIS attack, they defied orders to remain "out of harms' way" to return to aid the Rebels in defense of what was, really, a U.S. base.
With the aid of three or more air strikes, U.S. forces engaged ISIS fighters, who had already overrun the base. All the while, the U.S. soldiers knew they were, now, open targets for both Syrian and Russian air strikes, if they were intent on retaliation. Nevertheless, they had a single mind-set, save the remaining Rebels ... and retake the base, knowing that, immediately thereafter, they may have to, again, abandon it.
U.S. commanders, unlike T***p, recognized their responsibility for the Rebels who remained on the base, and, in their duty to make Rebel recruits ready for combat, they acted valiantly to rescue them from what was, for the Rebels, an overwhelming and superior fire-powered aggressor. The base was retaken, but not all Rebel recruits were saved--four were reported lost (reportedly, no coalition forces were killed).
For a short time, these Special Forces men and women can "take a breather". But, thanks to T***p, all coalition forces remain clothed with a target on their back from, potentially, five opponents (adding Iran and continuing local resistance). If they stay at the base, they will be in danger on all sides and from the air.
What they didn't know was the true extent of the danger they potentially faced. Shortly after the missile strike, Syria decided to use white phosphorus ordnance in its strikes (the first use was on Sunday). White phosphorus "explodes" into a burning spread of mayhem upon exposure to air. It's use is akin to napalm's use in Vietnam. In a confined area, like the base, its effect would even be increased.
Meanwhile, today, T***p stated on FoxBus that "we're not going into Syria", and that "we're not going to get involved in Syria".
Yeah ... tell that to the estimated 500 to two thousand special forces already there.
~meaning, "To Free the Oppressed", motto of U.S. Special Forces
*The following "reports/facts" came from multiple sources via the internet, and portions of television media broadcasts.
**Up until the missile strike, there had been strained military relations among the U.S.-led coalition and Syrian Rebel forces and the Syrian-Russian-(and ?Iranian) forces. After the strike, Putin suspended the coordination of air operations.