Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan revealed that 25 people, including 5 U.S. soldiers, were killed in the recent terrorist attack in the northern Syrian city of Manbij.
“The information I have is news pointing toward that there are five U.S. soldiers and 20 died in total,” the Turkish president said during a news conference with his Croatian counterpart in Ankara on January 16, according to the Reuters news agency.
Erdogan added that he does not believe that the attack will impact U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw American troops from Syria because he saw “honorable Trump’s determination on this point.”
“The attack could be meant to dissuade the U.S. from leaving Syria,” the Anadolu Agency quoted Erdogan as saying.
Earlier, the US-led coalition confirmed that U.S. several members were killed in the attack, which was carried out by ISIS cells. The coalition refused to provide the exact number of casualties. However, a U.S. official told Reuters that 4 U.S. service members were killed and three other were injured.
In his comment on the incident, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) spokesman condemned “the vicious terrorist attack” and said that US-backed forces will continue its war on ISIS.
“We’d like to extend our heartfelt condolences to the families of soldiers and American people. We will keep fighting hard to ensure stability and security in this region,” Mustafa Bali said on Twitter.
The SDF will likely take advantage of the attack to promote the need of U.S military presence in northeastern Syria. However, it appears that Erdogan, who has been in talks with Trump on a safe zone in the region, is confident that Washington will not reverse the decision.