Attack that injured 4 US servicemembers in northeast Syria caused by explosive charges: Coalition
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The attack that injured four US troops in the Green Village in Syria's Deir al-Zor province on Apr. 7 was caused by "deliberate placement of explosive charges" and not indirect fire as previously reported, the US-led coalition announced on Friday.
Initially, the coalition reported that indirect fire had wounded those US servicemembers in that Apr. 7 incident.
But now, "upon further investigation, OIR (Operation Inherent Resolve) officials assess the explosions in Green Village were not the result of indirect fire but rather the deliberate placement of explosive charges by an unidentified individual(s) at an ammunition holding area and shower facility," the coalition said in a statement.
"The incident remains under investigation. We will provide further details as they become available," it added.
The statement did not assign blame to any group for the attack.
Update: Follow-up on OIR statement regarding the attack on Green Village in Eastern Syria, April 7th. pic.twitter.com/e9mPSbnWJa— Inherent Resolve (@CJTFOIR) April 15, 2022
The coalition previously said those four wounded US "servicemembers are being evaluated for minor injuries and possible traumatic brain injuries."
The Green Village, where the attack transpired, is a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) base with a small coalition troop presence in Deir al-Zor.
"If it is true, as the US military is now saying, that someone managed to place bombs inside a US military facility in Syria, that is pretty concerning for the US presence there. It seems to raise the threat level a notch," Aron Lund, a fellow with the Century Foundation, told Kurdistan 24.
"The US military contingent in Syria is small and exposed to a long list of potential threats," Lund said. "The area is full of more or less hostile actors, from Syrian government loyalists and Islamic State jihadis to Russian troops and Iran-backed groups. Sporadic shelling has long been a problem, mostly attributed to pro-Assad or pro-Iran groups."
"Islamic State bombings are a persistent risk," Lund added. "There are also civilian protests, stone-throwing, rioting, and other confrontations of that type, mostly in Arab areas where there is support for the Damascus government. Sometimes there's gunfire and skirmishes. US forces rarely seem to suffer casualties in these incidents, but their SDF allies are more exposed and they have suffered a steady drip of losses."
Lund also noted that the small size of the US presence in northeast Syria makes it reliant "to a large extent on local partners to secure and understand the environment, make sure supplies and convoys are safe, and so on."
"That's why infiltration seems like such a troublesome prospect," he said. "If bombs now suddenly go off inside your base, how did that happen? Was it a failure of competence or discipline, or was it a deliberate betrayal? Who can you trust?"
The United States has also accused Iranian-backed armed groups of regular rocket and drone attacks against its forces in Iraq and Syria.
The Green Village was also targeted with eight rounds of indirect fire in early January by Iran-backed groups. That attack did not cause any casualties.
The US-led coalition retaliated to that attack by striking seven suspected Katyusha rocket sites.
The official Twitter account of the US-led coalition on Thursday also said that "recent attacks by adversaries will not deter our steadfast commitment to ensuring the lasting defeat of Daesh (ISIS) & promoting regional security & stability."