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Pentagon Identifies Soldier, Sailor, And DoD Civilian Killed In Syria
The Defense Department has identified two U.S. service members and a Defense Department civilian, who were killed by an ISIS suicide bomber Wednesday in Manbij, Syria. A Defense Department contractor was also killed in the blast.
Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, and Defense Department civilian Scott A. Wirtz were killed, a Pentagon news release says.
Farmer, 37, was assigned to 3rd Battalion, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne) at Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He joined the Army in 2005 and was on his sixth combat tour, a U.S. Army Special Operations Command news release says. He deployed to Iraq five times and to Afghanistan once. His military awards include the Bronze Star with two Oak Leaf Clusters and Purple Heart.
He is survived by his wife and four children, the news release says.
Kent, 35, was assigned to Cryptologic Warfare Activity 66, based at Fort George G. Meade, Maryland. She joined the Navy in 2003 and became a chief petty officer in August 2012, according to her military record. Her military awards include the Iraq Campaign Medal, Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon, and Pistol Marksmanship ribbon.
"Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family, friends, and teammates of Chief Petty Officer Kent during this extremely difficult time. She was a rock star, an outstanding chief petty officer, and leader to many in the Navy Information Warfare Community," Cmdr. Joseph Harrison, Commanding Officer of Cryptologic Warfare Activity 66, said in a news release.
Wirtz was assigned to the Defense Intelligence Agency as an operations support specialist. He is a former SEAL, who spent 10 years in the Navy, leaving the service as a petty officer first class, according to his DIA biography. He joined the DIA in February 2017 and made three deployments to the Middle East with the agency.
Defense officials have not released much information about the circumstances surrounding their deaths. Army Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the U.S. military in Iraq and Syria, said all four Americans were "conducting a routine patrol in Syria" when the explosion occurred.
President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence paid tribute to the four Americans killed while speaking Thursday at the Pentagon.
"I want to take a moment to express my deepest condolences to the families of the brave American heroes who laid down their lives yesterday in selfless service to our nation – these are great people; great, great people." Trump said. "We will never forget their noble and immortal sacrifice."
Trump has ordered the withdrawal of all U.S. troops in Syria, but is unclear how long that will take.
"Today, along with all of you, our hearts and our prayers are with the families of the fallen American heroes who were lost in Syria yesterday as well as those service members who were wounded," Pence said Thursday at the Pentagon. "We honor their service and we will honor the memory of the fallen.
"Their families and our armed forces should know: Their sacrifice will only steel our resolve that as we begin to bring our troops home we will do so in a way that ensures that the remnants of ISIS will never be able to reestablish their evil and murderous caliphate."
SEE ALSO: Sen. Lindsey Graham Suggests Trump's Abrupt Syria Withdrawal 'Set In Motion' Deadly ISIS Attack On US Troops
WATCH NEXT: President Trump Discusses Syria
Retired Army Master Sgt. Mark Allen has died 10 years after he was shot in the head while searching for deserter Pvt. Bowe Bergdahl in Afghanistan.
Allen died on Saturday at the age of 46, according to funeral information posted online.
For U.S. service members who have fought alongside the Kurds, President Donald Trump's decision to approve repositioning U.S. forces in Syria ahead of Turkey's invasion is a naked betrayal of valued allies.
"I am ashamed for the first time in my career," one unnamed special operator told Fox News Jennifer Griffin.
In a Twitter thread that went viral, Griffin wrote the soldier told her the Kurds were continuing to support the United States by guarding tens of thousands of ISIS prisoners even though Turkey had nullified an arrangement under which U.S. and Turkish troops were conducting joint patrols in northeastern Syria to allow the Kurdish People's Protection Units, or YPG, to withdraw.
"The Kurds are sticking by us," the soldier told Griffin. "No other partner I have ever dealt with would stand by us."
Most of the U.S. troops in Syria are being moved out of the country as Turkish forces and their Arab allies push further into Kurdish territory than originally expected, Task & Purpose has learned.
Roughly 1,000 U.S. troops are withdrawing from Syria, leaving a residual force of between 100 and 150 service members at the Al Tanf garrison, a U.S. official said.
"I spoke with the president last night after discussions with the rest of the national security team and he directed that we begin a deliberate withdrawal of forces from northern Syria," Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Sunday's edition of CBS News' "Face the Nation."'
More than 700 women and children affiliated with ISIS escape Kurdish prison camp after Turkish shelling
BEIRUT/ISTANBUL (Reuters) - Women affiliated with Islamic State and their children fled en masse from a camp where they were being held in northern Syria on Sunday after shelling by Turkish forces in a five-day-old offensive, the region's Kurdish-led administration said.
Turkey's cross-border attack in northern Syria against Kurdish forces widened to target the town of Suluk which was hit by Ankara's Syrian rebel allies. There were conflicting accounts on the outcome of the fighting.
Turkey is facing threats of possible sanctions from the United States unless it calls off the incursion. Two of its NATO allies, Germany and France, have said they are halting weapons exports to Turkey. The Arab League has denounced the operation.
Former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is warning that it's "absolutely a given" that ISIS will come back if the U.S. doesn't keep up pressure on the group, just one week after President Trump announced the withdrawal of U.S. military forces from northern Syria.
"It's in a situation of disarray right now. Obviously the Kurds are adapting to the Turkish attacks, and we'll have to see if they're able to maintain the fight against ISIS," Mattis said in an interview on NBC's "Meet The Press," set to air on Sunday. "It's going to have an impact. The question is how much?"