3 Americans killed in Syria suicide blast identified

Posted at 9:35 AM, Jan 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-01-18 09:35:35-05

(Fox News) – Three of the four Americans who were killed in a suicide blast near a U.S.-led coalition patrol in Syria were identified Friday.

Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Jonathan R. Farmer, 37, of Boynton Beach, Florida, Navy Chief Cryptologic Technician (Interpretive) Shannon M. Kent, 35, of upstate New York and Defense Department civilian Scott A. Wirtz of St. Louis, Missouri, were all identified. The incident is being investigated.

Farmer has served on six overseas combat tours and has received numerous awards and decorations including the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart. He is survived by his spouse, four children and his parents.

Information on the other victims wasn’t immediately available.

The fourth American killed in the attack was an interpreter working for the Defense Department and his name wasn’t released.

The suicide attack hit near the main market in the northern city of Manbij. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the blast, saying one of its members carried out the suicide attack and detonated his vest with explosives. The attack was the deadliest assault on U.S. troops in Syria since American forces went into the country in 2015.

Video of Wednesday’s attack released by local activists and news agencies showed a restaurant that suffered extensive damage and a street covered with debris and blood. Several cars were also damaged. Another video showed a helicopter flying over the area. A security camera showed a busy street, and then a ball of fire engulfing people and others running for cover as the blast went off.

Manbij is the main town on the westernmost edge of Syrian territory held by the U.S.-backed Syrian Kurds, running along the border with Turkey. Mixed Kurdish-Arab Syrian forces liberated Manbij from ISIS in 2016 with the help from the U.S.-led coalition.

The attack prompted new complains about the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria. President Trump announced last month that ISIS has been defeated and he was pulling about 2,000 American troops in Syria.

Not long after the attack Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence repeated claims of the Islamic State group’s defeat. Speaking at the State Department, Pence said the “caliphate has crumbled” and the militant network “has been defeated.” Later in the day he released a statement condemning the attack but affirming the withdrawal plan.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.