A number of Kurdish-led forces allied with the United States were injured last Monday, when a car bombing targeted a joint American-Kurdish patrol. The explosion happened just five days after fifteen people, including four Americans, were killed in a suicide bombing.
Though there were misconceptions about American casualties, Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces, released a tweet to reassure the public that there were no casualties in Monday’s car bombing.
“Contrary to countless reports on mainstream media, today’s ISIS attack targeting a joint patrol of our forces and #US soldiers in southern Hasakah countryside was foiled by the instant and timely response of Security Forces,” tweeted Bali. “The explosion caused material damage, no casualties.”
The bombing occurred only weeks after United States President Donald Trump’s order to withdraw the remaining 2,000 American troops from Syria. “We have won against ISIS,” President Trump declared during the speech in which he announced American withdrawal.
President Trump decided to withdraw troops from the Islamic State after his meeting the President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey, who assured President Trump that his country could clean up what was left of the Islamic State. However, many American officials expressed caution regarding the decision.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, based in Britain, first reported that the blast was targeted at a convoy of U.S.-supported, Kurdish-led troops. The reported stated that three people were injured and the U.S. military followed up by reporting that no U.S. troops had been killed. The Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) confirmed the bombing in a tweet that read, “We can confirm a combined U.S. and Syrian partner force convoy was involved in an apparent VBIED [vehicle borne improvised explosive device] attack today in Syria. There were no U.S. casualties. We will continue to review the situation and provide updates as appropriate.”
The Kurdish-led administration in the Hassakeh region released a statement saying that the attack was executed by using a vehicle bomb that was “detonated by a terrorist driver who tried to target a convoy of the coalition forces that happened to be driving through the checkpoint at this moment.”
The Islamic State has been regressing. Due to its recent loss of territory, many of its fighters have returned home or gone into hiding to avoid being captured or killed. It is estimated that 20,000 to 30,000 fighters remain in Iraq and Syria. There are concerns surrounding the potential revival of the group.
The recent bombings in Syria, targeted at U.S. allied forces, are happening only weeks after President Trump’s announcement to remove troops. The attacks are a reminder that the Islamic State is still capable of causing destruction on what was thought to be safe territory.