IS claim bomb blast targeting US troops in Syria's Manbij

IS claim bomb blast targeting US troops in Syria's Manbij
The Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for an attack on a US-led military coalition patrol in Manbij.
2 min read
16 January, 2019
The blast hit a restaurant in downtown Manbij [Twitter]
The Islamic State group have claimed responsibility for a bomb blast targeting a US military patrol in the flash-point Syrian city of Manbij.

"A suicide attack carried out with an explosives vest hit an international coalition patrol in the city of Manbij," IS-affiliated Amaq said in a statement.

The bomb has exploded in a packed area of the flash-point city of Manbij in northern Syria, killing two US soldiers, according to the Kurdish People's Protection Units. 

US troop casualties are yet to be confirmed by the coalition.

The blast reportedly hit the downtown area of Manbij, close to an US-led coalition patrol where talk of an American withdrawal from the city had led to heightened tensions.

Americans injured in the bombing have been evacuated from the scene by helicopter, with images from the city showing a restaurant devastated by the blast.

Turkish news outlet TRT reported that at least four civilians have been killed in the attack, which the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claims was carried out by a suicide bomber. 

Al Jazeera reported nine civilian deaths, while others have stated that at least one American soldier was killed in the blast.

Russian and American military patrols operate in Manbij, and is run by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, a militia force that has been fighting the Islamic State group and includes a large Kurdish component.

The city has come under the spotlight following President Donald Trump's announcement that American troops would withdraw from Syria, with Manbij expected to be a target of the Turkish military when the pull-out takes place.

Turkey has been keen to capture areas of northern Syria occupied by Kurdish militias.

The Islamic State group are holed up in a small strip on territory in eastern Syria, but have continued to carry out bomb attacks through sleeper cells.

US military experts have pleaded with Trump not to pull American troops from Syria, due to the continued threat posed by IS.