Islamic State hits convoy of US, Kurdish forces in Syria





Beirut - By Weedah Hamzah and Amr Mostafa, - A suicide car bombing hit a joint convoy of US and Kurdish-led troops in north-eastern Syria, in an attack claimed by Islamic State.
Monday's attack comes five days after a suicide bombing, also claimed by the extremist group, killed 19 people, including four US soldiers, in the northern town of Manbij.



 
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said an attacker in an explosives-packed car blew himself up as a convoy of US soldiers and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) was passing by on a road near Shahdadi in the province of al-Hassakeh.
The Britain-based watchdog reported at least five members of the SDF were killed and two US soldiers were wounded in the blast.
But the US-led military coalition in Syria denied any US soldiers were hurt in the attack.
"We can confirm a combined US and Syrian partner force convoy was involved in an apparent [vehicle-borne improvised explosive device] attack today in Syria. There were no US casualties," the coalition wrote on Twitter.
A statement by the SDF confirmed the attack on the joint convoy and said it failed to achieve its goals and only caused material damage.
An SDF military source disputed earlier statements by the observatory that five of its troops were killed and said only one of them was seriously wounded.
The United States has been under pressure to clarify its plans for withdrawing troops from the war-torn country, following a shock announcement by President Donald Trump last month.
Trump surprised his own military leaders, allies and members of Congress when he announced the withdrawal, saying Islamic State had been defeated in Syria.
Backed by the US, the SDF, which is part of the Kurdish-led people's Protection Units (YPG), have captured much of the Syrian territory once held by Islamic State, including its former de-facto capital of al-Raqqa.
Ankara considers the YPG to be an extension of the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) waging an insurgency within Turkey.
The SDF has been waging since September an offensive a

Monday, January 21st 2019
By Weedah Hamzah and Amr Mostafa,
           


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