ISIS missile injures UK special forces in Syria, reports say
Two members of the British special forces have been wounded in an attack by ISIS fighters in Syria, according to the Kurdish news agency Rudaw.
The UK’s Ministry of Defence told CNN it would not comment on special forces, but did not deny the media reports.
The soldiers were hit by an ISIS missile attack on a Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) base in the east Syrian town of Shafa, Deir ez-Zor, Rudaw said. A Kurdish fighter was killed in the attack.
“Due to a smart missile attack by ISIS, a fighter of the YPG was killed and another wounded, in addition to two British soldiers,” the news agency quoted an SDF official as saying.
The two British soldiers are in a stable condition, the official added.
The attack comes just three weeks after US President Donald Trump declared the terror group defeated and that he planned to withdraw 2,000 US troops from the war torn country.
“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump presidency”, Trump tweeted a week before Christmas. His decision to withdraw troops led to the resignation of Defense Secretary James Mattis, who believed the US was deserting its allies in the region.
Concern about Kurds
On Sunday, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Washington would condition its Syria pullout on a Turkish assurance to safeguard Kurds and also wants measures to protect withdrawing U.S. forces, Reuters reported.
Bolton, briefing reporters during a visit to Israel on Sunday, added that Trump “wants the ISIS caliphate destroyed.”
“The allegation that Turkey is targeting Kurds in Syria is irrational,” Turkish Presidential Spokesman Ibrahim Kalın was reported as saying Sunday in response to Bolton’s comments. “Turkey’s target is Daesh and PKK/PYD/YPG terror organizations,” he told Turkey’s state news agency Anadolu.
Kalin said claiming that a terror group represents Kurds is an “insult to our Kurdish brothers” and added that “one target of Turkey’s struggle in Syria is to save Kurds from oppression by this terror organization.”
Between December 16 and December 29, US-led coalition military forces, supported by the UK, conducted 469 air and artillery strikes targeting ISIS in Syria. The strikes were carried out against ISIS fighters, buildings, oil facilities, vehicles, tunnels, weapons caches and improvised explosive device facilities, according to a statement issued by the coalition.