US-backed fighters capture ISIS militants suspected of killing American troops

US-backed fighters capture ISIS militants suspected of killing American troops
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U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) announced Tuesday that they captured a group of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters suspected to be responsible for bombing American troops. 

"A group of suspects believed to be involved in January 16 Manbij bombing that killed several US and SDF servicemen were captured following technical surveillance by our forces," SDF spokesman Mustafa Bali tweeted.

"The outcome of the ongoing investigation will be shared at a later time."


The suspects in a January bombing that killed four Americans were among the hundreds of militants captured in a successful operation to capture an ISIS encampment in Baghouz, the last territory held by the extremists in Syria.

The SDF had moved into the territory Monday, and captured the camp Tuesday.

"#SDF is in control of Daesh encampment area in #Baghouz," Bali said.

"This is not a victory announcement, but a significant progress in the fight against Daesh. Clashes are continuing as a group of ISIS terrorists who are confined into a tiny area still fight back." 

SDF's territorial gains come as the Trump administration is considering withdrawing its presence from the region.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE has claimed since December that ISIS has been fully defeated in the region, justifying his decision to withdraw.

“You kept hearing it was 90 percent, 92 percent, the caliphate in Syria. Now it’s 100 percent, we just took over,” Trump said during remarks to troops last month.

Lawmakers in Congress, U.S. officials and the SDF itself have maintained that ISIS remains a threat.

Trump's initial announcement of a full withdrawal from Syria was met with significant backlash and prompted the resignation of then-Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisFormer Mattis staffer: Trump 'shooting himself in the foot' on foreign policy Former staffer hits back at Mattis's office over criticism of tell-all book Former speechwriter for General James Mattis: Has the national security state grappled with Donald Trump? MORE.

The Trump administration then announced last month that they would be leaving 400 troops in the country to back the SDF.

Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford on Sunday denied the accuracy of a report that the U.S. is planning to keep 1,000 troops in Syria.