Two members of US-led anti-ISIS coalition killed in Syria blast
Two members of the U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) were killed by an improvised explosive device Thursday night in Syria, the coalition said Friday.
In addition to the deaths, five coalition members were injured in the blast at about 9 p.m. Thursday, the coalition added.
“Wounded personnel received immediate care and are being evacuated for further medical treatment,” the coalition said in a statement.
The names and nationalities of those killed were not were released by the coalition. That information will be released “at the discretion of the pertinent national authorities,” the statement said.
The Washington Post, citing an unnamed U.S. military official, said one of the two dead was American.
Later Friday, the United Kingdom Defense Ministry confirmed the other fatality was one of its service members. It’s the U.K.’s first combat death in the fight against ISIS.
“The individual was embedded with U.S. forces on a counter-Daesh operation when the incident occurred,” the ministry said in a statement, using an alternate name for ISIS. “The family has been notified, and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.”
The coalition statement provided no additional details of the incident, saying information is being withheld pending further investigation.
The incident marks the first deaths from hostile action for the coalition this year. Eleven U.S. troops in Iraq and Syria have died this year from noncombat incidents, including the seven killed in a helicopter crash in western Iraq earlier this month.
The United States has about 2,000 troops in Syria fighting ISIS, which the Pentagon says has lost about 98 percent of the territory it once held in Iraq and Syria.
The Trump administration had said U.S. troops would stay in Syria past ISIS’s defeat in order to help stabilize towns and to ensure Iran does not gain influence in the country.
But President Trump promised Thursday afternoon that the United States will “be coming out of Syria, like, very soon.”
“Let the other people take care of it now,” Trump said at a speech in Ohio. “Very soon. Very soon, we’re coming out. We’re going to have a hundred percent of the caliphate, as they call it, sometimes referred to as land, taking it all back. Quickly, quickly.”
Updated at 3:03 p.m.