A member of the UK Special Forces has been killed in Syria while on an anti-Islamic State operation.
A US soldier was also killed and five others wounded yesterday by a roadside bomb, the US military have confirmed.
A MOD spokesperson said:
“It is with regret that we must confirm that a member of the UK Armed Forces was killed by an improvised explosive device in Syria yesterday.
“The individual was embedded with US forces on a counter-Daesh operation when the incident occurred.
“The family has been notified and our thoughts are with them at this difficult time.
“We cannot confirm any further details at this stage.”
Confirmation of fatality in Syria: pic.twitter.com/pfK8Zp1buk
— Ministry of Defence 🇬🇧 (@DefenceHQ) March 30, 2018
The government has never said publicly that UK forces are in Syria. It is also reportedly the first British military death whilst on deployment against IS.
Special Forces do not require the same Parliamentary approval that conventional troops need to protect operational security .
The US military member killed was the fourth American who has died in Syria since the US began attacking Islamic State militants there in September 2014, according to the Pentagon’s Defence Casualty Analysis System.
The MOD did not say where the incident occurred but it came hours after a local Syrian official said that a roadside bomb exploded in the tense, mixed Arab-Kurdish town of Manbij that is not far from the border with Turkey.
A US military statement released on Friday afternoon said the attack happened on Thursday night and that the wounded were being evacuated for further medical treatment.
US military spokesman Col Ryan Dillon could not immediately say who was behind the attack:
“There is an investigation underway to identify who they could possibly be. We have our initial assessment and thoughts on that but we won’t provide until the investigation is complete.”
Col Dillon said the coalition has had fatalities in Syria before: “Perhaps by different means but there have been coalition deaths in Syria over the course of three years.”
Mohammed Abu Adel, head of the Manbij Military Council, an Arab-Kurdish group in the town backed by the US, said the bomb went off hundreds of metres from a security headquarters that houses the council just before midnight on Thursday.
Earlier on Friday, Col Dillon said an incident involving coalition forces was reported in Manbij but said no more information was available.
The town has seen a number of small explosions, protests and an assassination attempt on a member of the Manbij military council in recent weeks.
The military council has since been in control and US troops patrol the town and area with troops based nearby.