A helicopter “mishap” in north-east Syria injured 22 United States Armed Forces personnel over the weekend, in the latest incident amid increasing animosity against American troops in the region.
In a statement by the US military, it announced that “A helicopter mishap in north-eastern Syria resulted in the injuries of various degrees of 22 US service members.” It clarified that, while the exact cause of the accident was under investigation, it was not inflicted by an external attack as “No enemy fire was reported”.
The statement added that the service members were receiving treatment, and that 10 of them were moved to “higher care facilities” outside the region.
Although the incident was not caused by any attack, it comes at a time when a myriad of forces and groups in the region have become increasingly vocal against the US military’s presence in north-east Syria and the wider region.
The Iranian and Syrian governments have repeatedly called for Washington’s withdrawal from Syria, the numerous Iran-backed Shia militias in Iraq and Syria continue to threaten to attack US forces and bases in both countries, and Daesh sleeper cells have been re-emerging in attempts to attack both local and foreign military targets in Syria.
Currently, at least 900 US troops – along with an undisclosed number of contractors – remain in north-east Syria to assist the Kurdish militia groups in the fight against Daesh and the prevention of the terror group’s revival. They also guard the oil fields in that oil-rich area of Syria, and have recently been reinforced by more personnel.