The US-led anti-ISIS coalition confirmed that a US and “Syrian partner force” convoy was hit by an ISIS suicide car bomb on Monday.
The bomber targeted a joint patrol by US forces and the Kurdish-dominated Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the town of Shaddadi in Hasakah province of north-east Syria. There were no reports of casualties, the SDF said in a statement, despite the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights initially reporting that five SDF fighters were killed and two US soldiers injured.
According to the SITE Intelligence Group, ISIS claimed responsibility for the bombing via its “news agency,” Amaq.
The SDF said that as ISIS remnants are being eradicated from the area: “The terrorist organisation resorts to launch suicide attacks using car bombs to obstruct this campaign”. It added that terror attacks would not undermine its determination to complete the liberation of the area from ISIS.
Last Wednesday, US forces sustained their most serious loss of personnel since the Syria deployment began, when an ISIS suicide bomber killed four Americans – two men and two women – and 12 others in the northern city of Manbij. The attack came a month after President Donald Trump said ISIS had been destroyed and announced plans to withdraw 2,000 US troops from Syria who have been deployed in support of the SDF fighters.
Since Trump’s withdrawal announcement, the administration has been stressing to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan that he should not attack the SDF fighters after the US forces leave, and specifically, those attached to the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG) which Turkey considers to be terrorists. Instead, President Trump has proposed a safe zone for areas under SDF control.
President Erdoğan has said preparations for a Turkish incursion into Syria were complete, but insisted the aim was not to undermine the territorial integrity of the country. “We will deliver Manbij to its real owners. We don’t have eyes on anybody’s land. Those who insistently want to keep us away from these regions are seeking to strengthen terror organisations,” the Turkish President said.