JERUSALEM — A little-discussed U.S. military desert outpost in the far reaches of northeastern Jordan has become the focus of international attention after a drone attack killed three American troops and injured at least 34 others there.
The base, known as Tower 22, sits near the demilitarized zone on the border between Jordan and Syria along a sandy, bulldozed berm marking the DMZ's southern edge. The Iraqi border is only 10 kilometers (6 miles) away.
The area is known as Rukban, a vast arid region that once saw a refugee camp spring up on the Syrian side over the rise of the Islamic State group's so-called caliphate in 2014.
At its height, over 100,000 people lived there, blocked by Jordan from coming across into the kingdom at the time over concerns about infiltration by the extremist group. Those concerns grew out of a 2016 car bomb attack there that killed seven Jordanian border guards
The camp has dwindled in the time since to some 7,500 people because of a lack of supplies reaching there, according to United Nations estimates.
The base began as a Jordanian outpost watching the border, then saw an increased U.S. presence there after American forces entered Syria in late 2015. The small installation includes U.S. engineering, aviation, logistics and security troops with about 350 U.S. Army and Air Force personnel deployed there.
The base's location offers a site for American forces to infiltrate and quietly leave Syria. A…