Trump travels to Dover Air Force Base to meet with families of Americans killed in Syria

Trump travels to Dover Air Force Base to meet with families of Americans killed in Syria
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President TrumpDonald John TrumpRepublicans aim to avoid war with White House over impeachment strategy New York Times editorial board calls for Trump's impeachment Trump rips Michigan Rep. Dingell after Fox News appearance: 'Really pathetic!' MORE traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to meet with the families of four Americans who were killed in an explosion Wednesday in Syria.

Trump announced the trip early Saturday, tweeting that he would be meeting with the families of four "very special people" who died "in service" to the U.S., but offering no further details on the trip.

"Will be leaving for Dover to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!" Trump tweeted.

Trump was joined Saturday by Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump greeted with cheers at 120th Army-Navy game Judge orders State Dept. to search for and provide more Ukraine docs Pompeo launches personal Twitter account amid speculation over Senate run MORE and acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanDefense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall Why Dave Norquist is the perfect choice for DOD's deputy secretary MORE, according to the White House press office.


The unexpected trip comes days after U.S. Central Command confirmed that four Americans, including two U.S. troops, were killed in the explosion in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. 

The Pentagon on Friday named the deceased as Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer; Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon M. Kent; and civilian Scott A. Wirtz, a former Navy SEAL working for the Defense Intelligence Agency. The department did not name the fourth American.

Local reports said members of the U.S.-led international anti-Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) coalition were caught in a suicide blast in the center of the Kurdish-controlled town.

ISIS has taken credit for the attack through its Amaq news agency, which said an attacker used an explosives-laden vest to target coalition forces.

U.S. and U.S.-backed forces retook Manbij from ISIS in 2016.

The blast comes as the United States begins a drawback of troops in Syria ordered by Trump last month. U.S. forces have begun removing some equipment from Syria, but no troops have yet been withdrawn.

Trump first ordered an immediate withdrawal, but officials have since said the drawback will happen more slowly.

Responding to the attack, acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan stressed Wednesday that the "fight against terrorism is ongoing."

"Allow me to extend on behalf of [the Pentagon] our thoughts and prayers to the families and team members of those killed today in Manbij," he said ahead of a meeting with Japan's defense minister. "Our fight against terrorism is ongoing and we will remain vigilant and committed to its destruction."

— Updated 10:30 a.m.