Service member dies in Syria during support of Operation Inherent Resolve


A service member serving with the U.S.-led coalition in Syria died Tuesday, according to a brief statement from Operation Inherent Resolve.

“Initial reports indicate the incident was not due to enemy contact,” the statement said. “The incident is under investigation.”

The service member, whose nationality, service branch and unit were not released, will be identified after next of kin has been notified, the coalition said, citing its policy.

Several hundred U.S. and allied troops are deployed to a handful of austere bases in northeastern Syria to train and assist Kurdish-led militia forces fighting the Islamic State. U.S. troops frequently patrol the area, where the forces of Syrian president Bashar Assad and their Russian backers are also active.

There are also hundreds of U.S. special operations troops training anti-ISIS forces at a remote garrison at Tanf in the country’s southeast, near the borders with Iraq and Jordan. American forces there have clashed with pro-regime and Iran-linked forces in the area, where the U.S. maintains a 34-mile deconfliction zone.

The death this week brings to ten the number of fatalities this year under Inherent Resolve, which also has some 5,200 U.S. troops in Iraq to provide training, intelligence, equipment and combat support for partner forces there.

Two Marine Raiders were killed in a combat operation against ISIS in the mountains of northern Iraq in early March. Days later, two Americans — an airman and a soldier — and a British soldier were killed in a rocket attack at Camp Taji, a base north of Baghdad, which the U.S. has blamed on Iran-backed paramilitary forces.

Four other American service members died in what the coalition said were noncombat incidents, one of them from a January rollover accident in Syria. Two died in northern Iraq and the latest, a soldier, died in Jordan last month.

Some 150 American troops have also been wounded in action this year, Pentagon data show, including 14 wounded in the March rocket attack on Camp Taji. More than 100 others suffered brain injuries from an Iranian ballistic missile attack in January that struck two Iraqi bases where American troops are based.

News of Tuesday’s death came hours after a brief video clip began circulating on social media showing what appeared to be a U.S. military armored vehicle that had rolled over somewhere in northern Syria. It was not immediately clear whether the incident was connected to the service member’s death.

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