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22 US troops injured in Syria helicopter crash

The fight against ISIS continues.
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Chinook helicopter
The US and partner forces in Syria continue to launch dozens of raids each month against ISIS-related targets in Syria and northern Iraq. (Spc. Robert Donovic/U.S. Army)

A total of 22 U.S. troops were injured when a helicopter crashed in northeastern Syria on June 11, according to U.S. Central Command, or CENTCOM.

All the troops are being treated for “injuries of various degrees,” and 10 of the service members have been sent to higher care facilities outside of the CENTCOM theater of operations, a CENTCOM news release says.

The Pentagon did not specify the severity of the service members’ injuries, nor say what type of mission the troops were on when their helicopter crashed or what type of helicopter they were flying in at the time.

No enemy fire was reported at the time of the crash, which is under investigation, the news release says.

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“We have nothing additional to provide pending the outcome of the investigation,” Army Maj. John Moore, a CENTCOM spokesman, said on Tuesday. “We will provide an update as soon as more information is available.”

Roughly 900 U.S. troops are deployed to Syria as part of ongoing efforts to fight the Islamic State group. The U.S. military conducted 21 missions against ISIS in Syria in May along with another 17 operations in Iraq, CENTCOM announced earlier this month.

As a result of those missions, U.S. troops killed eight suspected ISIS operatives and captured another 31 in both countries.

ISIS has been severely degraded since it lost its last enclave in Syria more than four years ago. The group is currently “operating in a survival posture with a low operational pace,” according to the most recent report from the Lead Inspector General for Operation Inherent Resolve.

But the fight against ISIS remains dangerous for U.S. troops and their partner forces. Four U.S. service members and a military working dog were injured in February when a suspected ISIS leader caused an explosion during a raid in Syria.

Separately, U.S. troops in both Syria and Iraq have been targeted by Iranian-backed groups. U.S. government officials blamed one such group for a March 23 suicide drone attack on a base in Syria that killed an American contractor and wounded five U.S. service members.

On top of that, Russian military aircraft have been harassing U.S. troops in Syria by taking provocative and dangerous actions, such as flying over U.S. military positions while armed with air-to-ground munitions.

UPDATE: 06/13/2023; this story was updated with a statement from Army Maj. John Moore, a spokesman for U.S. Central Command.

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