US Soldiers Killed in IS-Claimed Syria Blast

REUTERS  Omar Sanadiki Russian Military Police Begin to Patrol Manbij Area in Syria's Aleppo Province

Four U.S. soldiers were killed and three others wounded in the blast, a U.S. official told Reuters. An official at the Pentagon confirmed to USA Today that US troops had been killed, but did not give a number.

Turkey's state-run Anadolu Agency, citing unnamed local sources, said a number of US soldiers were injured in the blast and that the USA military evacuated soldiers by helicopter.

The US military has confirmed servicemen have been killed while on routine patrol in northern Syria.

Reuters could not independently verify a report by the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that 14 people had been killed in the attack including two USA soldiers.

White House spokesperson Sarah Sanders said President Trump had been "fully briefed" on the incident. It added that at least five US -backed Syrian fighters were also among the dead. "We've taken back the land and now it's time for our troops to come back home".

A witness in the city said the attack had targeted a restaurant where U.S. personnel were meeting members of the local militia that Washington backs there.

"We are bringing our troops home", Pence said in an address to 180 USA ambassadors and chiefs of missions overseas gathered for a conference in Washington.

U.S. President Donald Trump called for the withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria last month, saying IS had been defeated.

Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham delivered a forceful statement Wednesday faulting President Trump for having "set in motion" enthusiasm by the enemy in Syria that resulted in the deadly attack there that killed USA forces.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Wednesday's bombing, claimed by the Islamic State terror group, has left 20 dead, including five USA troops.

While many Americans cheered Trump's withdrawal decision, fed up after years of costly and seemingly interminable conflicts, observers said Wednesday's attack shows he was too hasty.

Al Jazeera sources earlier said the death toll includes two U.S. soldiers, one Kurdish fighter, and six civilians.

Critics of President Trump's decision to pull USA forces from Syria have said that while the Islamic State's self-declared caliphate had collapsed, IS itself was transforming into a capable insurgent force.

Erdogan said he had a "quite positive" telephone conversation with Trump late on Monday in which he reaffirmed that "a 20-mile (30 kilometre) security zone along the Syrian border. will be set up by us". One local militia member also was killed.

There were several reported casualties in the city a militia controlling the city and a UK-based monitoring group said.

Nearly eight years into Syria's civil war, Turkey has repeatedly threatened to attack Syrian Kurdish fighters it views as "terrorists" on its southern flank. People familiar with the President's reaction said the conversation was eye-opening for a leader who, days earlier, claimed the terror group was defeated "badly" in the country.

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