Pentagon IDs Troops, DIA Employee Killed in Syria Blast

  • Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Fla. (U.S. Army photo)
    Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Fla. (U.S. Army photo)
  • Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, of New York. (Facebook)
    Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, of New York. (Facebook)
  • This frame grab from video provided by Hawar news, the news agency for the semi-autonomous Kurdish areas in Syria (ANHA), shows the damaged restaurant where explosion occurred near a patrol of the U.S.-led coalition, in Manbij town, Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. A Syrian war monitoring group and a local town council say an explosion has taken place near a patrol of the U.S.-led coalition and that there are casualties. (ANHA via AP)
    This frame grab from video provided by Hawar news, the news agency for the semi-autonomous Kurdish areas in Syria (ANHA), shows the damaged restaurant where explosion occurred near a patrol of the U.S.-led coalition, in Manbij town, Syria, Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019. A Syrian war monitoring group and a local town council say an explosion has taken place near a patrol of the U.S.-led coalition and that there are casualties. (ANHA via AP)

The Pentagon has identified the two service members and one Defense Department employee who were killed in a suicide bomb attack in Manbij, Syria, on Wednesday.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida, died as a result of wounds sustained during the blast. He was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky.

Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, listed as being from upstate New York, also died. She was assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity 66, based at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland.

In addition, Defense Intelligence Agency operations support specialist Scott A. Wirtz, from St. Louis, also was killed.

An American contractor also was killed but has yet to be identified. Three additional troops were wounded, according to news reports from the scene.

Defense officials said Wednesday the explosion happened while the troops and American workers were "conducting a local engagement" in Manbij.

According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the London-based group monitoring Syria's civil war, and the local Manbij Military Council, more than a dozen people were killed or wounded in the attack.

The U.S. has been conducting joint patrols with the Turkish military since early December under an agreement worked out by then-Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to ease Turkish concerns about the U.S.-backed SDF's presence in the region.

According to the Syrian Observatory, several SDF members were also killed in the explosion Wednesday.

There was no immediate word on whether or how the attack might affect the planned withdrawal of the estimated 2,000 U.S. troops in Syria.

Last Friday, CJTF-OIR and the Pentagon confirmed that the withdrawal from Syria had begun but was being temporarily limited to the pullout of equipment. In a statement, a Pentagon spokesman stressed that no personnel had as yet been withdrawn and gave no timetable for the completion of the withdrawal.

Operation Roundup, the U.S.-backed offensive by the SDF against the last remnants of ISIS in Syria that began last May, is continuing against ISIS fighters in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border with U.S. air and artillery support, according to the task force.

This story will be updated.

-- Patricia Kime can be reached at Patricia.Kime@military.com.

-- Richard Sisk can be reached at Richard.Sisk@military.com.

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