The U.S. suffered its first combat casualty in the fight against ISIS, when a yet-unnamed soldier died on Nov. 24 after stepping on an improvised explosive device.
“I am deeply saddened by the news on this Thanksgiving Day that one of our brave service members has been killed in Syria while protecting us from the evil of ISIL,” Ashton Carter, U.S. defense secretary wrote in a statement, notes The New York Times. “It is a painful reminder of the dangers our men and women in uniform face around the world to keep us safe.”
The soldier stepped on the IED near the Syrian town of Ayn Issa, some 30 miles north of the ISIS stronghold of Raqqa, and died later from the wounds, the Daily Mail reports.
The U.S. Central Command confirmed the death on Nov. 24.
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“[A] U.S. service member died from wounds in northern #Syria supporting our partners in the fight against #ISIL terrorists,” Brett McGurk, the Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition to Counter ISIL, tweeted on Nov. 24.
“The entire counter-IS coalition sends our condolences to this hero's family, friends and teammates,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement also on November 24. “On this Thanksgiving, please be thankful that there are service members willing to take up the fight to protect our homeland from IS's hateful and brutal ideology.”
The American soldier was killed in an area halfway between Raqqa and the Turkish border, where recent activity has led to the deaths of three Turkish soldiers by Syrian planes, reports The New York Times.
It is the first killing of Turkish soldiers by Syrian forces inside the country since the war began.
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Binali Yildirim, the Turkish prime minister, vowed that the action will “not be left unanswered”.