United States military says American troops killed in Syria blast

US-Led Coalition Denies Involvement in Daquq Airstrikes Against Civilians

The blast killed four USA soldiers and wounded three others, a U.S. official said.

The Manbij Military Council militia has controlled the town since US-backed Kurdish-led forces took it from Islamic State in 2016.

The US-led coalition has confirmed that Americans were killed in the attack, though it is not clear how many.

Statements published by the Islamic State's unofficial news agency, Amaq, said the attacker used an explosives-laden vest to target coalition forces and that nine American troops were killed or injured.

The U.S. -led coalition said that "U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today".

An image grab taken from a video obtained by AFPTV on 16 January 2019 shows USA troops gathered at the scene of a suicide attack in the northern Syrian town of Manbij.

"We will continue to monitor the ongoing situation in Syria", Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters during a briefing.

The president's declaration surprised allies and foes alike, drawing consternation from global partners and accusations of abandonment from a USA -backed Kurdish force that has suffered thousands of casualties during the military campaign. The promised pullout would take time, however, and in practice United States soldiers continue missions on the ground.

The Observatory and the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council, which runs the town, also said a suicide bomber was involved but did not immediately have any further details.

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Politicians, including Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford, tweeted messages of support. He was in his apartment across the street from the station when he started hearing sirens just after 4 p.m.

He referred back to his prior visit, saying that the only reason the Kurds and other groups were even in the restaurant was that the USA made it safe to do so, and added that the people there "just need our help".

The latest bombing presents a stark reminder for Trump and his administration of the continued violence in Syria, even as he insists USA troops begin returning home.

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

Last month, U.S. President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement that he would withdraw all 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria after concluding ISIS had been defeated.

American Special Operations forces inside Syria coordinate daily with local opposition fighters called the Syrian Democratic Forces, an alliance of mostly Kurdish and Arab fighters. "With regard to stabilization, we have a long way to go", he said.

Four US soldiers and more than a dozen civilians have been killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria. That did not stop Vice President Mike Pence, who was briefed on the attack earlier in the day, from declaring ISIS "defeated" during morning remarks.

Doctors in Manbij told VOA two USA soldiers were killed instantly.

A local news site reported that a huge explosion erupted in the city center near a girls' school and a restaurant.

U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham, who has been critical at times of the administration's decision-making in Syria, said he had visited the restaurant targeted in the suicide attack and urged the president to reconsider.

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