Twenty-two U.S. service members were injured in a helicopter “mishap” in northeast Syria on June 11, according to the U.S. military late on Monday. No details regarding the cause of the incident or the severity of the injuries were disclosed.
Ten service members were evacuated to higher-level care facilities outside the region, according to U.S Central Command. Central Command, which oversees U.S. troops in the Middle East area, reported no enemy fire but said that the cause of the incident was still under investigation. Central Command officials did not immediately respond to requests for further information.
The incident happened near the town of Shaddadi in Hasakeh province, according to two security sources.
General Mazloum Abdi, commander in chief of the U.S.-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), said in a statement: “We wish a speedy recovery for the wounded of the crashed US helicopter in northeast Syria. We assure our commitment to continue working with our partners from the coalition against ISIS to ensure the stability of the region.”
The autonomous Kurdish-led administration that governs the area and the central Syrian government in Damascus did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
In March, 25 U.S. troops were wounded in strikes and counter-strikes in Syria, which killed one U.S. contractor and injured another.
Approximately 900 U.S. troops are stationed in Syria, largely in the east, as part of a mission fighting the remains of ISIS. They have come under repeated attacks in recent years by Iran-backed fighters.
U.S. forces were first deployed to Syria during the Obama administration’s campaign against ISIS, in coalition with the SDF.
While ISIS is now only a remnant of the group that ruled over a third of Syria and Iraq, hundreds of fighters are still camped in desolate areas where neither the U.S.-led coalition nor the Syrian army, which is supported by Russia and Iranian-backed militias, have full control over.
U.S. officials say that ISIS could still develop into a major threat.
Thousands of other ISIS fighters are detained by the SDF.
The threats from Iran-backed militia to U.S. forces are a sign of the complex geopolitics of Syria, where Syrian President Bashar al-Assad relies on support from Iran and Russia and views American troops as occupiers.