4 US soldiers killled in Islamic State suicide bomb attack in Syria
A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest attacked international forces patrolling in the northern town of Manbij, according to Islamic State’s self-styled Amaq news agency, which is used by the group to claim attacks around the world.Updated: Jan 16, 2019 20:45 IST
Islamic State claimed responsibility for an attack on American soldiers and their Kurdish allies in Syria, potentially complicating president Donald Trump’s plans to pull US troops out of the country citing a victory against the jihadist group.
Initial reports indicate four US service members were killed and three were wounded, a Trump administration official said.
A suicide bomber wearing an explosive vest attacked international forces patrolling in the northern town of Manbij, according to Islamic State’s self-styled Amaq news agency, which is used by the group to claim attacks around the world.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian civil war through activists on the ground, says the blast killed at least 16 people, including two American soldiers. Bloomberg wasn’t able to immediately verify the death toll or confirm that US nationals were among the casualties.
The attack, if proven to be carried out by the Islamic State, might be the latest in a series of stumbling blocks in Trump’s efforts to exit Syria. The president’s decision -- apparently made during a phone call with his Turkish counterpart last month -- has already faced serious pushback from within the US administration, leading to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis. A suicide bombing by the jihadist group could bolster the argument that America’s job in Syria remains unfinished.
The confusion over US plans to exit Syria has already stoked tensions with NATO ally Turkey; the town of Manbij is at the heart of the dispute over US support for Kurdish YPG fighters. The US and Turkey agreed on a road map last year to have the fighters withdraw from the area. While the US says no timeline was attached to the plan, Ankara wants the Kurds out fast because of their links to a militant Kurdish separatist group Turkey has been battling for decades.
First Published: Jan 16, 2019 19:59 IST