Syria Islamic State group attack undermines Trump's victory claims

Hugh Fox
January 16, 2019

The Kurdish-run Hawar news agency (ANHA) said three American servicemen, two US-backed local fighters and 13 civillians were killed in the attack.

The attack took place in the northern town of Manbij, which is controlled by rebels opposed to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.

No confirmation of the attack or possible American casualties has been made by USA military sources.

Multiple US service members were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a restaurant in the key city of Manbij in Syria's north, the deadliest attack against US forces since they first deployed in Syria in 2015.

The UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least eight people were killed.

"My concern about the statements made by President Trump is that (he) had set in motion an enthusiasm by the enemy we are fighting", Graham said.

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White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said President Trump had been "fully briefed" on the incident.

At the time, critics warned that this could be Trump's "mission accomplished" moment, and here we are.

The witness said a suicide attacker had targeted the patrol and the militia group said on Facebook that there was preliminary information of injuries. You make people we're trying to help wonder about us, ' he added, speaking of the local population and Kurdish fighters the USA has supported.

U.S. President Donald Trump called for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria last month, saying IS had been defeated.

"A suicide attack carried out with explosives vest hit an worldwide coalition patrol in the city of Manbij", the terror group's propaganda arm Amaq said.

"To those who lost their lives today, in Syria, you were defending America in my view", said Graham.

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The city is located near Syrian government forces backed by Russian Federation and anti-regime fighters backed by Turkey.

The attack, which took place in the town of Manbij, controlled by rebels opposed to the Syrian president, Bashar al-Assad, appears to be the deadliest on USA forces in Syria since they deployed on the ground there in 2015. The ISIS extremist group has claimed responsibility.

The explosion hit a restaurant near the center of the city. One local militia member also was killed.

The explosion on Wednesday occurred at a restaurant in Manbij, a strategic northeastern border town near Turkey that ISIS has used to move fighters and supplies in and out of Syria.

But Manbij has also been seen as a flashpoint between the Kurds and USA ally Turkey, which views the main Kurdish militia, the YPG, as a terrorist organization with links to Kurds in Turkey.

Al Jazeera sources earlier said the death toll includes two United States soldiers, one Kurdish fighter, and six civilians.

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