Syrian media: Blast hits Kurdish fighters in northeast Syria

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An Islamic State suicide bomber targeted a joint convoy of U.S. and allied Kurdish forces in northern Syria on Monday, marking the second attack against U.S. troops in less than a week.

U.S. military Col. Sean Ryan said there were no casualties among the U.S.-led coalition members. He added: “We can confirm a combined U.S. and Syrian partner force convoy was involved” in the suicide bomb attack.

“We will continue to review the situation and provide updates as appropriate,” he added.

Monday’s attack came days after a suicide attack killed 16 people, including two U.S. service members and two American civilians, in the northern Syrian town of Manbij. It also came a month after U.S. President Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw troops from the war-torn country, declaring that IS had been defeated.

The extremist group claimed both attacks in statements carried by its Aamaq news agency.

The Kurdish Hawar news agency, based in northern Syria, said Monday’s blast targeted a Syrian Kurdish checkpoint as a coalition convoy was passing near the town of Shaddadeh. It said two Kurdish fighters were lightly wounded in the blast.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the blast killed five people and wounded others.

The extremist group has been driven from virtually all the territory it once held in Syria and Iraq but continues to carry out attacks in both countries.

In a separate development on Monday, the European Union added 11 businessmen and five companies to its list of Syrians under sanctions for backing President Bashar Assad’s government.

EU foreign ministers imposed travel bans and asset freezes on them, saying they “are involved in luxury estate development and other regime-backed projects, and as such support and/or benefit from the Syrian regime.”

The EU sanctions list now includes 270 people and 72 “entities,” which are usually companies, organizations or agencies.

The EU began imposing sanctions on Assad and his supporters in 2011, after peaceful protests erupted against his family’s decades-long rule and the government launched a violent crackdown on dissent. The sanctions are reviewed every year.

The measures include an oil embargo, investment restrictions, a freeze on Syrian central bank assets held in the EU, and export bans on equipment that could be used to crack down on civilians.

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