Casualties as blast in Manbij, Syria reportedly occurs near US-led coalition patrol

Featured Casualties as blast in Manbij, Syria reportedly occurs near US-led coalition patrol

A powerful blast has hit the northern Syrian city of Manbij, which was recently threatened by Turkey over its Kurdish control. Several people were killed, with local sources claiming Kurdish-allied US soldiers were among the dead.

The blast happened near a restaurant and market. Preliminary reports say at least six people were killed and 19 others injured by the explosion. Various sources on the ground claim that between two and five US soldiers are among the casualties, but this has yet to be confirmed.

Footage from Manbij obtained by RT’s video agency Ruptly shows emergency vehicles and several US troops, presumably responding to the blast.

Ruptly’s contributor on the ground said the US military ramped up security inside the city following the attack and put the city hospital, where victims have been transported, on lockdown.

Photos and videos taken at the scene show a damaged building with broken windows and what appear to be blood stains on a column and several damaged cars.

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Update: Blackhawks are landing next to targeted site in
US Service men were injured. An US patrol was near the targeted restaurant - according to locals some were enjoying a meal inside the restaurant

The US-led coalition stated it was “aware of open-source reports” on the blast, and said that it had conducted a routine Syrian patrol, but stopped short of confirming any casualties in the explosion.

Four US soldiers were killed and three were injured, Reuters reported, citing an unnamed American official.

Al Jazeera sources earlier said the death toll includes two US soldiers, one Kurdish fighter, and six civilians. Turkish newspaper Yeni Safak said five Americans were killed by the explosion. Another unconfirmed report said the target was a restaurant where US, French and Kurdish troops were meeting to discuss security arrangements for the city.

Meanwhile, a helicopter apparently sent to the area by the US military was filmed by bystanders.

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) mouthpiece Al-Amaq said the terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Manbij is a strategically located city, which is at the center of a tense confrontation between the Kurds and Turkey, which considers the Kurdish fighters to be terrorists. Ankara has threatened to launch a military operation to kick them out of the city.

The US, which supported Kurdish militias with arms and training while they were focusing on fighting jihadist forces, is now in the process of withdrawing its troops from Kurdish-controlled parts of Syria. The promised pullout would take time, however, and in practice US soldiers continue missions on the ground.

Last modified onWednesday, 16 January 2019 10:21

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