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Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 21 February 2019

Donald Trump to meet families of Americans killed in Syria

The four US personnel were killed in a suicide bombing on a small restaurant in Manbij

A Syrian man walks past the site a suicide attack which killed four US serviceman in Manbij, northern Syria.  AFP
A Syrian man walks past the site a suicide attack which killed four US serviceman in Manbij, northern Syria.  AFP

US President Donald Trump made a surprise announcement on Saturday that he would be travelling to meet the families of four US personnel killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.

The trip was not on his official schedule released a day earlier but he took to social media to announce the news of his trip.

He tweeted: "Will be leaving for Dover to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"

Dover refers to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware.

Nineteen people including the four Americans were killed in a suicide bombing on a small restaurant in the flashpoint northern Syrian town of Manbij on Wednesday.

The attack, claimed by ISIS, was the deadliest to hit US troops since they deployed to Syria in 2014. It came despite Mr Trump's assertion that he had defeated ISIS in Syria and therefore would withdraw American forces.

The bombing, which also wounded three US troops, was the deadliest assault on American forces in Syria since they went into the country in 2015.

At least 16 people were killed, and the dead were said to have included a number of fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces, who have fought alongside the Americans against ISIS.

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Read more:

Pentagon: Four US personnel killed in ISIS attack on Syria’s Manbij

Editorial: Attack demonstrates enduring ISIS threat

US-backed fighters seize east Syria village from ISIS

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Two US service members, one Department of Defense civilian and one contractor were among those killed in the Manbij attack. The Pentagon has identified three of the four Americans killed as Army Chief Warrant Officer Jonathan R. Farmer, Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician Shannon M. Kent and civilian Scott A. Wirtz. The Pentagon hasn't identified the fourth casualty, a civilian contractor.

After sweeping across swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, the militants' cross-border "caliphate" has been erased by multiple offensives and is now confined to a tiny embattled enclave in eastern Syria close to the Iraqi border.

But despite the stinging defeats, ISIS has proved it is still capable of carrying out deadly attacks using hideouts in the sprawling desert or sleeper cells in the towns.

Updated: January 19, 2019 06:17 PM

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