Blast in Syria kills members of US, British militaries, officials say

WASHINGTON/BEIRUT, Maren Hennemuth and Weedah Hamzah (dpa) - The two soldiers killed in a blast in Syria were American and British, military officials in the two countries confirmed Friday.
The explosion, which wounded five other members of the US-led coalition, happened around Manbij, the US military official confirmed. The blast is still under investigation and it is too early to blame anyone, he added.

Britain's Defence Ministry said the Briton was a member of Britain's armed forces, the Press Association reported.
The US-led coalition announced earlier that two of its personnel had been killed by an improvised explosive device in Syria at 2100 GMT Thursday, but did not say where it happened. Nor did they provide the nationalities of the dead and wounded soldiers.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the incident took place in the northern town of Manbij, a town in the north-eastern part of Aleppo province that was seized from Islamic State by Kurdish-led forces in 2016.
The Observatory said nine were wounded in addition to the two coalition personnel killed. Four of the wounded were members of the Kurdish-led Manbij Military Council, according to the Observatory.
The attack comes a week after the head of the Manbij Military Council, Shervan Darwish, escaped an assassination attempt in the area, the head of the Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman, told dpa.
Kurdish sources said that Darwish's injuries were not life-threatening.
Manbij is controlled by US-backed Kurdish militias, whom Turkey considers terrorists. The main militia in the area is the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG).
The US has troops stationed in Manbij and separately trained Kurdish militias there, also providing them with arms in the fight against Islamic State extremists.
After seizing the northern Afrin region earlier this month, Turkey has threatened to move against Kurdish militants in Manbij.

Saturday, March 31st 2018
Maren Hennemuth and Weedah Hamzah (dpa)

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