The Pentagon announced Tuesday that for the first time since the U.S. sent special operations forces into Syria last year, an Islamic State attack wounded an American service member there.
The attack unfolded north of Raqqa, ISIS’ de-facto capital in Syria, Pentagon spokesman Capt. Jeff Davis said. He added that a separate explosion near Irbil in northern Iraq also wounded one U.S. service member. Both were special operations fighters.
In both cases, Davis said the service members were hit by “indirect fire.” There also were reports that one of the attacks was an ISIS car bomb.
Davis would not reveal the extent of the injuries. He said the troops were not returned to duty, and that both were hurt during “advise and assist” missions away from the “front line.”
President Obama first authorized sending 50 special operations forces to Syria in October. In April, he ordered 250 more. He also ordered more than 200 additional U.S. troops to Iraq last month.
The Pentagon has acknowledged more than 5,000 U.S. troops on the ground in Iraq.
"At the three-star [coalition] headquarters level, we may not have perfect fidelity on what happens every minute of every day out there in the wilds of Syria,” Col. Steve Warren said Friday.