‘Illusion of safety’ blamed for deaths of four US service members in Syria

Manbij SyriaThe “illusion of safety” has been blamed for the death of four American service members in northern Syria last week, after a suicide bomber attacked a restaurant, killing at least 19 people and wounding countless others. The deadly attack happened in Manbij, a small Kurdish-majority town near the Syrian-Turkish border, which American forces previously viewed as an oasis of security in the war-torn country. American troops fought alongside a coalition of Kurdish and Arab fighters who in 2016 took control of Manbij from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Since then, American forces have remained in the area —mostly to prevent a military invasion by Washington’s ally Turkey, which views the Kurds as terrorists and has threatened to destroy their armed forces.

The relative stability of Manbij was violently disrupted last Wednesday, when a man detonated a suicide vest inside the Palace of the Princes restaurant in downtown Manbij. Until that moment, United States forces had lost just two members during the Syrian Civil War. Four more Americans died in Wednesday’s blast, including two service members, a military contractor and a civilian intelligence officer working for the Pentagon. Three other Americans were wounded and were airlifted out of the country. In an insightful article published last week, The New York Times quoted a US Special Forces member who wondered whether the US troops in northern Syria have “developed a false sense of security” in what remains a dangerous conflict zone. “The illusion of safety”, said the anonymous commentator, had caused the behavior of American service members in Manbij to fall into predictable routines. That became a vulnerability that the Islamic State was able to exploit, he said.

The Sunni militant group targeted the Palace of the Princes, one of the most popular eateries for Americans in Manbij. The Times quoted locals who said that American troops appeared to eat there nearly every time they patrolled the city, “often many times a week”. They would even park their military vehicles outside the restaurant while dining there, they said. The paper commented that many US troops had “grown complacent and should have varied their […] routes or increased their operational security” while on patrol. Unfortunately, however, their presence —and lack of adequate security— was noticed by the Islamic State, which targeted them on Wednesday.

Author: Joseph Fitsanakis | Date: 21 January 2019 | Permalink

4 Responses to ‘Illusion of safety’ blamed for deaths of four US service members in Syria

  1. Joe says:

    Hmm military SOF who patrol every day, receive intel reports of enemy capabilities with full knowledge that withdrawal signal emboldens the enemy is going to let their guard down in a combat zone. Sounds like BS screed to me. More likely NeoCon false flag to draw the US back in, big money, sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make an omelette right? You know, today’s morality suggests the sacrifice of a few for the majority is acceptable. News flash, no it’s not moral to sacrifice anyone for any number.

  2. valen says:

    hmm, sounds like someone prefers their conspiracy thinking to outright critical thinking. The enemy always gets a vote. you left off the part of the international Z-conspiracy part too.

  3. Pete says:

    Interesting article. Certainly the suicide bombing happened at a perfect time to keep a wavering US engaged in Syria.

    Was it:
    – Islamic State (IS) wanting the “Great Satan” US to remain in Syria, to keep IS fighters committed? OR
    – would some Kurds favour the bombing to keep US forces in Syria? Thus protecting Kurds from the neighbouring Turks (who might be willing to launch airstrikes against Kurds in Syria)?

  4. The service members in this operation were all seasoned professionals. They simply failed to maintain Operation Security. Everyone in that town knew it was a favorite watering hole for American troops. A visiting senator even stopped by and ate lunch there during one of his official visits.

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