According to the US military, 22 US soldiers were injured in a helicopter accident in Syria
Beirut – A helicopter “mishap” in the northeast22 US soldiers were injured over the weekend, the US military said on Tuesday, adding that the cause of the accident is being investigated.
The US Central Command (CENTCOM) statement said they were receiving treatment and 10 had been transferred to “high care facilities” outside the region.
It said: “A helicopter accident in north-eastern Syria resulted in injuries of varying degrees to 22 US soldiers” and the accident on Sunday is being investigated “although no enemy fire was reported”.
A spokesman for the US-backed Syrian Kurdish forces did not immediately respond to an Associated Press request for comment.
On average, at least 900 US forces are stationed in Syria, along with an undisclosed number of contractors. US special forces also move in and out of the country, but mostly travel in small teams and are not included in the official count.
US forces have been in Syria since 2015 to advise and assist the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces in their fight against Syria. Since the defeat in Syria in March 2019, US troops have been trying to prevent a comeback from ISIS, which swept through Iraq and Syria in 2014 and took control of large areas.
Still, IS’s sleeper cells remain a threat. In addition, around 10,000 IS fighters are being held in detention centers in Syria and tens of thousands of their family members live in two refugee camps in the northeast of the country.
In recent years, US troops there have faced attacks from ISIS members and Iran-backed militants. In late March, a drone attack on a US base killed a contractor and injured five American soldiers and another contractor. In retaliationaround the eastern province of Deir el-Zour, which borders Iraq.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said at least 19 people were killed in the US strikes, Agence France-Presse reports.
US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said at the time the attacks were in response to the drone strike as well as a series of recent attacks by Iranian Revolutionary Guard-affiliated groups on US-led coalition forces in Syria.
In a related development, Syrian-Kurdish-led authorities announced on Saturday that hundreds of ISIS fighters being held in prisons in the region will face justice after their home countries refused to repatriate them.
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