US Forces Killed in Explosion in Syria

A US soldier walks toward a tactical vehicle used to provide security during an independent, coordinated patrol outside Manbij, Syria, on August 19, 2018. These patrols are coordinated with Turkish military forces to ensure the continued safety and security in Manbij. Army photo by Sgt. Nicole Paese.

Two US service members, a Defense Department civilian, and a DOD contractor were killed Wednesday in an explosion in the Syrian city of Manbij, an attack reportedly claimed by ISIS. Three more US service members were injured, US Central Command said in a statement.

The US-led coalition said the service members were conducting a routine patrol at the time, but it did not say what service they were affiliated with. “We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time,” the US-led coalition said in a statement.

The White House has repeatedly claimed victory over ISIS and has said it plans to start withdrawing troops from Syria. Speaking Wednesday at the State Department, Vice President Mike Pence once again reiterated that the US had defeated ISIS, but he did not mention the attack, which had taken place about an hour before. However, the White House released a statement later that afternoon condemning the attack.

“Our hearts are with the loved ones of the fallen. We honor their memory and we will never forget their service and sacrifice,” the statement reads. “Thanks to the courage of our armed forces, we have crushed the ISIS caliphate and devastated its capabilities. 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 re-establish their evil and murderous caliphate.”

Prior to Wednesday’s bombing, two US service members had been killed in action in Syria since Operation Inherent Resolve began in August 2014.