Washington (CNN)ISIS has claimed responsibility for a deadly explosion that killed US service members in the Syrian city of Manbij on Wednesday.
US service members were killed in the attack, according to a tweet from the spokesperson for the US-led coalition Operation Inherent Resolve.
“U.S. service members were killed during an explosion while conducting a routine patrol in Syria today. We are still gathering information and will share additional details at a later time,” the tweet said.
The coalition has not said how many service members were killed. Prior to Wednesday’s attack, only two US service members had been killed in action in Syria since the start of the campaign in 2014.
White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump has been briefed on the situation. Vice President Mike Pence has also been briefed, according to a tweet from his press secretary.
However, Pence made no mention of the attack or the deaths of US service members while making remarks at the Global Chiefs of Mission conference at the US State Department Wednesday, claiming “The caliphate has crumbled, and ISIS has been defeated.”
The attack comes less than a month after Trump announced that US troops would withdraw from Syria. In making his announcement, Trump declared in a video released on Twitter: “We have won against ISIS. We’ve beaten them and we’ve beaten them badly. We’ve taken back the land and now it’s time for our troops to come back home.”
Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham, who was a harsh critic of Trump’s plans to bring home US troops from Syria when the decision was announced earlier in December, said Wednesday that he is concerned that the President’s statements about withdrawing from Syria have emboldened the enemy.
“My concern, by the statements made by President Trump, is that you set in motion enthusiasm by the enemy we’re fighting. You make people we’re trying to help wonder about us. And as they get bolder, the people we’re trying to help are going to get more uncertain. I saw this in Iraq. And I’m now seeing it in Syria,” Graham said during impromptu remarks at a Judiciary Committee hearing on Attorney General nominee William Barr.
“Every American wants our troops to come home, but I think all of us want to make sure that when they do come home, we’re safe,” he added. “So I would hope the President would look long at hard at where he’s headed in Syria. I know people are frustrated, but we’re never going to be safe here unless we’re willing to help people over there who will stand up against this radical ideology.”