2 US Servicemembers Killed in Syria, Iraq
Two U.S. servicemembers — one in Syria and the other in Iraq — were killed Nov. 24 by enemy explosive devices.
One servicemember, embedded with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria, died from injuries caused by a blast from an improvised explosive device, military officials said.
The second servicemember, embedded with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq, was killed when his all-terrain vehicle ran over a bomb north of Mosul, two U.S. officials confirmed to Fox News.
In a statement released Thursday, military officials said the Syria blast happened in the vicinity of Ayn Issa, located about an hour north of Raqqa — de facto capital of ISIS. The death is believed to be the first American military casualty since the start of the operation against Islamic Statefighters in Syria.
“The entire counter-ISIL Coalition sends our condolences to this hero’s family, friends and teammates,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve in a statement. “On this Thanksgiving, please be thankful that there are service members willing to take up the fight to protect our homeland from ISIL’s hateful and brutal ideology.”
The servicemember killed north of Mosul marked the first death among American forces in Iraq since the start of operations to retake that city from Islamic State fighters; his death was the fourth among U.S. military personnel fighting ISIS in Iraq.
There are upwards of 300 special operations forces embedded with Iraqi and Kurdish troops in the fight to take back Mosul. In all, around 5,000 American troops are currently stationed in Iraq.
On Nov. 23, a U.S. Army soldier was killed outside Kabul after he was shot by someone wearing an Afghan Army uniform.
Earlier this month, a Green Beret embedded with Afghan forces during an anti-ISIS mission was killed in eastern Afghanistan during a foot patrol when a roadside bomb exploded. A day later, two U.S. Army soldiers were wounded when another roadside bomb detonated under their vehicle in Nangarhar Province.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, speaking by video link to diplomats meeting in Paris, said the Mosul offensive was moving “more quickly than we thought.”
He also vowed to protect civilians fleeing the fighting and said the government “will not allow any violations of human rights.” He said most residents of the region have welcomed the advancing forces.
ISIS captured Mosul and the surrounding area during a lightning advance across northern Iraq in 2014, and ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi announced the formation of a self-styled caliphate from the pulpit of a Mosul mosque. Mosul is the largest city controlled by the extremists and their last major urban bastion in Iraq.
Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
|Headlines Featured Islamic State of Iraq and the LevantSpecial Forces War on Terrorism Syria Iraq|
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