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US-led coalition soldier killed in ‘unfortunate mishap’ in Syria

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie, Jr., CDR, U.S. Central Command and U.S. Air Force Maj. Gen. Kenneth P. Ekman, Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve Deputy Commander for Operations, receive a common operating picture briefing from U.S. Special Forces Soldiers in Syria, July 10, 2020. (U.S. Air Force photo by Staff Sgt. Chandler Baker) (Photo by Staff Sgt. Chandler Baker)
July 22, 2020

A U.S.-led Coalition service member died in Syria on Tuesday in an unknown incident.

The service member was supporting the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) mission and their death was “not due to enemy contact,” a CJTF-OIR press release stated.

“Yesterday, we lost one of our young warriors who was conducting a security patrol in northeast Syria,” Air Force Maj. Gen. Kenneth P. Ekman, deputy commander of Combined Joint Task Force Operation Inherent Resolve, said during a press briefing on Wednesday. “On behalf of our commander, Lt. Gen. Pat White, and the entire 82-member Coalition, we send our condolences and prayers to the family of our fallen comrade.”

Ekman said that the service member’s death was a “very unfortunate mishap” that occurred during a routine security patrol.

Ekman added there are “no indications that any Russian activity existed in the area” or that the  patrol was “anything other than a normal patrol.”

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The identity of the service member has not yet been released. The incident is under investigation.

Ekman declined to provide further details of the service member’s death, but said the member was “important to the mission.”

He also declined to say how many U.S. troops are currently positioned in Syria, saying only that the U.S. has “sufficient forces” to maintain its mission there.

Ten U.S. service members have died in support of CJTF-OIR so far this year.

In late January, U.S. Army Spc. Antonio I. Moore, 22, died in a vehicle rollover accident during route clearing operations in Deir ez Zor Province, Syria.