U.S. officials announced Tuesday that American-backed Syrian forces have captured several ISIS fighters that are believed to be responsible for the bombing that killed four Americans in January.
Sixteen people were killed by a suicide bomber at a restaurant in Manbij in northern Syria, including Navy Chief Petty Officer Shannon M. Kent, 35, of Pine Plains, NY, Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, FL, Defense Intelligence Agency civilian Scott A. Wirtz, 42, of St. Louis, MO, and interpreter Ghadir Taher, 27, of East Point, GA, a naturalized U.S. citizen.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the suicide bombing, saying one of its fighters detonated an explosive vest in the main market in Manbij, where a U.S. patrol was meeting with local leaders. The attack was the deadliest attack on U.S. troops in Syria since American forces were first deployed there in 2015.
“A group of suspects believed to be involved in [the] January 16 Manbij bombing that killed several U.S. and SDF servicemen were captured following technical surveillance by our forces. The outcome of the ongoing investigation will be shared at a later time,” tweeted Mustafa Bali, a spokesman for the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Fighters (SDF).
Bali said the suspects were captured after SDF forces conducted technical surveillance of the group of ISIS fighters, but did not say how many were surveilled or captured.
In a report provided to Fox News, U.S. defense officials confirmed the capture of the men but also did not say how many were taken into custody.
The January bombing came shortly after President Trump announced a withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria and prompted a backlash from politicians who called for U.S. troops to remain in Syria. President Trump has since stated that a small number of U.S. troops will remain in the country.