Explosion in Syria Near U.S.-Led Coalition Patrol Causes Casualties

(BEIRUT) — An explosion struck Wednesday near a patrol of the U.S.-led coalition in the northern Syrian town of Manbij, killing and wounding more than a dozen people, a Syrian war monitoring group and a local town council said.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said seven civilians were killed and nine wounded in the blast. There was no immediate comment from the U.S.-led coalition or the U.S. military on the explosion or casualties among coalition forces.

The Kurdish Hawar news agency, based in northern Syria, and the Observatory, which monitors the war through activists on the ground, reported U.S. troops were among the casualties.

Turkey’s state-run Anadolu Agency, citing unnamed local sources, said a number of U.S. soldiers were injured in the blast and that the U.S. military evacuated soldiers by helicopter.

A U.S. military official said: “We are aware of the reports. We are working to get information and CENTCOM is going to release something when it’s appropriate.” He spoke on condition of anonymity because information is still being gathered.

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the blast, saying one of its members carried out a suicide attack and detonated his vest with explosives.

The Observatory and the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council, which runs the town, said the blast occurred near a restaurant near the town’s main market.

The Observatory’s chief Rami Abdurahman also said the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber but didn’t immediately have any further details.

The attack comes as the U.S. has begun the process of withdrawing from Syria.

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