Investigation begins after roadside bomb kills and injures coalition staff in Syria
TWO coalition personnel have been killed and five others wounded by a roadside bomb in Syria, the US military said.
It is a rare such attack since the Us-led coalition sent troops into the war-torn country.
The military did not say where the incident occurred or the nationalities of the casualties but it came hours after a local Syrian official said a roadside bomb exploded in the tense, mixed Arab-kurdish town of Manbij that is not far from the border with Turkey.
Manbij is under threat from a Turkish military operation. Ankara says Syrian Kurdish militiamen it views as “terrorists” and an extension of Kurdish insurgents inside Turkey are in control of the town.
The US military statement said the attack happened on Thursday night and that the wounded were being evacuated for further medical treatment.
US military spokesman Colonel Ryan Dillon could not immediately say who was behind the attack. “There is an investigation under way to identify who they could possibly be, ” he said.
The colonel refused to give the nationalities of the dead and wounded as well as the location of the attack until next of kin were notified.
Mohammed Abu Adel, head of the Manbij Military Council, an Arab-kurdish group in the town backed by the US, said the bomb went off hundreds of metres from a security headquarters that houses the council just before midnight on Thursday.
Earlier yesterday, Mr Dillon said an incident involving coalition forces was reported in Manbij but said no more information was available.
The town has seen a number of small explosions, protests and an assassination attempt on a member of the Manbij military council in recent weeks.
Local officials blame Turkey and other adversaries for seeking to sow chaos in the town that was controlled by Islamic State group militants until the summer of 2016. The military council has since been in control and US troops patrol the town and area with troops based nearby.
Meanwhile, near the capital Damascus, there were conflicting reports on whether a main rebel group will evacuate the largest and last rebel-held town in the area, known as eastern Ghouta.
Syrian state TV said an agreement is about to be reached for an Army of Islam evacuation but the group denied the reports.