US service member killed by explosive device in Syria

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A U.S. service member embedded with the Kurdish-leg Syrian Democratic Forces in northern Syria died Thursday from injuries from a blast by an improvised explosive device, military officials said.

In a statement released Thursday, military officials said the blast happened in the vicinity of Ayn Issa in northern Syria, located about an hour north of ISIS de factor capital of Raqqa.

The service member’s name, rank or military branch have been released.

The death is believed to be the first American military casualty since the start of the operation against Islamic State fighters.

“The entire counter-ISIL Coalition sends our condolences to this hero’s family, friends and teammates,” said Lt. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend, commander of Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve in a statement. “On this Thanksgiving, please be thankful that there are service members willing to take up the fight to protect our homeland from ISIL’s hateful and brutal ideology.”

U.S. troops are part of a multination effort to fight the Islamic State group in the region. There are roughly 300 special operations personnel embedded with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces.

In October 2016, another U.S. service member embedded with Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Iraq was killed when his all-terrain vehicle ran over a bomb north of Mosul. It marked the first death of a U.S. service member in Iraq since the start of the operation to retake Mosul from ISIS fighters that month.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.