US troops killed in Manbij explosion
U.S. service members were killed in an apparent suicide attack in Manbij, Syria on Wednesday, according to the spokesman for the international anti-Daesh coalition.
Col. Sean Ryan said an as-yet unknown number of troops was “killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol,” which reportedly killed several civilians.
“We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time,” said Ryan.
Initial reports suggested four Americans may have been killed.
The terrorist group Daesh has claimed responsibility for the bombing, which it said was carried out by a suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest.
Manbij remains under the control of the PYD/YPG, the Syrian affiliate of the PKK terrorist organization. During its 30-year terrorist campaign against Turkey, the PKK has taken some 40,000 lives.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said in a statement he and President Donald Trump condemn Wednesday’s attack “that claimed American lives and our hearts are with the loved ones of the fallen.”
“Thanks to the courage of our Armed Forces, we have crushed the ISIS caliphate and devastated its capabilities,” Pence said using another name for Daesh. “As we begin to bring our troops home, the American people can be assured, for the sake of our soldiers, their families, and our nation, we will never allow the remnants of ISIS to reestablish their evil and murderous caliphate – not now, not ever.”
The attack came after Trump’s surprise announcement last month of the withdrawal of American forces from Syria.
The pullout decision came during a phone call with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in which the two leaders agreed on the need for more effective coordination over the civil war-torn country.
On the attack, Trump has been “fully briefed and we will continue to monitor the ongoing situation in Syria,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
*Servet Gunerigok contributed to the story