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Vehicle Rollover Kills US Service Member in Syria

Photos of Strykers and up-armored Humvees flying U.S. flags were posted on social media after the U.S. regional command confirmed that Special Forces troops in northeastern Syria had moved toward Manbij. Photo via Twitter
Photos of Strykers and up-armored Humvees flying U.S. flags were posted on social media after the U.S. regional command confirmed that Special Forces troops in northeastern Syria had moved toward Manbij. Photo via Twitter

A U.S. service member deployed to Syria in support of the fight against Islamic State militants died Friday after a vehicle rollover incident.

According to a statement from Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve, the U.S.-led command overseeing the ISIS fight, the incident happened in northern Syria. The military branch the fallen service member belonged to was not identified.

"Further information will be released as appropriate," officials said in the release. "It is CJTF-OIR policy to defer casualty identification procedures to the relevant national authorities."

U.S. forces in Syria are concentrated in the north, where a coalition of troops is fighting to flush ISIS fighters out of Raqqa, the one-time capital of the group's so-called caliphate.

There are now roughly 900 U.S. troops in Syria following the March deployment of an additional 400 service members in support of the Raqqa fight. That month, several hundred Marines entered the country to establish an artillery post, while Army Rangers maintained a visible presence north of Raqqa in Manbij.

The casualty represents the third death of a service member in Syria since the beginning of Operation Inherent Resolve, the name of the U.S. operation against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria.

On Nov. 24, 2016, Navy Senior Chief Petty Officer Scott Dayton, an explosive ordnance disposal technician, was killed by an improvised explosive device in northern Syria. On March 28, Air Force Staff Sgt. Austin Bieren, an airman assigned to the 21st Space Wing, died in the same region of apparent natural causes.

For the combined OIR effort, including operations in Iraq, there have been 41 U.S. military deaths to date, according to Defense Department records. Of those deaths, 30 have been caused by non-hostile incidents.

-- Hope Hodge Seck can be reached at hope.seck@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @HopeSeck.

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