BEIRUT — The U.S. military says American service members have been killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria.
The military said in a tweet about Wednesday’s blast in the northern Syrian town of Manbij: “We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time.”
A Syrian war monitor, the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, reported earlier that at least two U.S. soldiers were killed in the suicide attack outside a restaurant in Manbij.
The Kurdish Hawar news agency, based in northern Syria, said three Americans were killed.
The blast killed a total of 16 people, including nine civilians according to the Observatory.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack. The ISIS-affiliated Amaq agency said the attack was carried out by a suicide bomber with an explosive vest.
The attack comes less than a month after President Donald Trump announced that U.S. troops would withdraw from Syria.
In making his announcement, Trump declared in a video released on Twitter: “We have won against ISIS. We’ve beaten them and we’ve beaten them badly. We’ve taken back the land and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”
After historic victories against ISIS, it’s time to bring our great young people home! pic.twitter.com/xoNjFzQFTp
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 19, 2018
The U.S. has about 2,000 troops in Syria, with no specific date for their withdrawal.
Last week, the U.S. began withdrawing some military ground equipment from Syria, according to an administration official with direct knowledge of the operation.