A helicopter incident in Northeast Syria has resulted in injuries to 22 US service members on Sunday, as reported by the US military on Monday evening. The specifics regarding the cause of the event or the extent of the injuries sustained have not been divulged yet.
The Central Command of the US military, in charge of US troops stationed in the Middle East, informed that 10 of the injured personnel were moved to advanced care facilities outside the region for treatment. While there were no reports of enemy fire at the time of the mishap, an official investigation into the incident has been initiated, the Command added.
Requests for additional information from officials at the US Central Command have yet to receive a response.
Inquiries directed to the US-led coalition were redirected by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, which are in control of large parts of Northeast Syria. Neither the autonomous Kurdish-led administration governing the area nor the central Syrian government in Damascus have made comments regarding the incident.
Currently, approximately 900 US personnel are stationed in Syria, predominantly in the eastern region, where they are engaged in combat against remnants of the Islamic State. These American troops have faced multiple attacks over the years by Iran-supported militia.
In an incident earlier this year in March, strikes and counter-strikes in Syria resulted in injuries to 25 US troops, along with the death of one US contractor and injuries to another.
US forces were first deployed in Syria during the Obama administration in an effort to combat the Islamic State. This involved forming an alliance with a Kurdish-led group known as the Syrian Democratic Forces. Although the Islamic State now wields significantly less power than when it declared a caliphate in 2014, several hundred fighters remain in areas beyond the full control of either the US-led coalition or the Syrian army, which is backed by Russia and Iranian-supported militias.
Many other Islamic State fighters are detained in facilities overseen by the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, a key US ally in Syria. US officials continue to warn of the potential for the Islamic State to re-emerge as a significant threat.
The persistent threats posed by Iran-backed militia to US forces serve as a stark reminder of the intricate geopolitical landscape of Syria. Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad, who views the US troops as invaders, relies on the support from Iran and Russia.