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13 Jun, 2023 15:09

US helicopter 'mishap' wounds over 20 troops in Syria

The incident was not caused by enemy fire, Central Command says 
US helicopter 'mishap' wounds over 20 troops in Syria

A helicopter accident in Syria has left 22 American servicemen with wounds ranging in severity, according to US Central Command (CENTCOM). The incident happened over the weekend in the northern part of the country, CENTCOM said in a statement published on Twitter on Tuesday.  

“A helicopter mishap in northeastern Syria resulted in injuries of various degrees,” the statement read. 

12 troops were receiving treatment in Syria, while ten others had to be moved to “higher care facilities” outside of the region, according to CENTCOM. 

The cause of the incident is being investigated, but “no enemy fire was reported,” it stressed.

Some 900 US troops remain in oil-rich northeastern Syria after being deployed there in the mid-2010s under the pretext of fighting Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants and advising the Kurdish militias. Damascus considers the presence of the Americans on its territory illegal and has repeatedly complained about it to the UN. The Syrian government’s stance is shared by Russia and Iran, who have aided the country in fighting terrorism.

In recent years, the US contingent in Syria has come under several attacks by Islamist militants and what the US calls Iran-backed fighters. In late March, a drone strike on an American base killed a contractor and wounded five US troops and another contractor. The US retaliated by launching airstrikes on several locations in the country’s eastern province of Deir el-Zour, on the border with Iraq.