ISIS Kills First US Service Member In Syria On Thanksgiving

(DoD photo by Jason Minto, U.S. Air Force/Released)

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Saagar Enjeti White House Correspondent
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The first U.S. service member to die in Syria was killed Thursday after stepping on an Islamic State improvised explosive device (IED).

The U.S. service member joins the ranks of four other U.S. service members killed in the fight against ISIS, all of whom died in Iraq. U.S. Navy Seal Charles Keating was killed in May in a similar advise and assist mission in Iraq, when the Kurdish unit he was attached to came under heavy fire from ISIS militants. Rocket fire also killed a Marine on a base in northern Iraq in late March.

The U.S. has approximately 300 special operators embedded with the Syrian Democratic Forces, a U.S.-backed Syrian militia group that is advancing on ISIS’s capital city of Raqqa. The IED blast occurred in a known area of operations for the SDF.

“On this Thanksgiving please be thankful there are service members willing to take up the fight to protect our homeland from ISIS’s hateful and brutal ideology,” Lt. Gen. Stephen Townsend said in a statement announcing the service member’s death.

“Please keep this service member’s family, friends and teammates in your thoughts and prayers, and this Thanksgiving I hope you will join me in expressing thanks to all of our dedicated troops who selflessly protect us everyday,” U.S. Secretary of Defense Ash Carter lamented in a statement.

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