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Suicide attack on Kurdish-US convoy in Syria ‘kills 5’

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A suicide bomber attacked a convoy of US troops and their allies in Syria on Monday, killing five members of a Kurdish-led force fighting the Islamic State group, a monitor said.

The assault, claimed by IS jihadists, came less than a week after another deadly attack on US forces in Syria, and a month after Washington announced a US troop pullout from the war-torn country.

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The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said five fighters from the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces were killed in the blast on a road in northeastern Hasakeh province.

“A suicide attacker driving a bomb-laden car targeted a convoy of American forces accompanied by the SDF on the Hasakeh-Shadadi road,” said the Observatory, a monitor that relies on a network of sources inside Syria.

Shadadi lies to the south of Hasakeh, capital of the eponymous province, which has been relatively spared by the war that erupted in Syria nearly eight years ago.

The coalition confirmed the attack by a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), but said there were no US casualties.

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“A combined US and Syrian partner force convoy was involved in an apparent VBIED attack today in Syria,” coalition spokesman Sean Ryan tweeted.

“There were no US casualties.”

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Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said the attacker had ploughed into an SDF vehicle.

– Grey smoke –

Footage on Kurdish media showed a plume of grey smoke rising from a road flanked by dry land.

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ANHA/AFP / –An image grab taken from a video published by Hawar News Agency (ANHA) on January 21, 2019 shows the scene of a suicide car bomb attack on an anti-jihadist coalition convoy in Syria’s northeastern Hasakeh province 

A witness told AFP the blast happened by a checkpoint held by Kurdish forces 12 kilometres (eight miles) outside Shadadi as the convoy drove past.

The witness said he heard planes fly overhead, before the area was completely cordoned off by Kurdish fighters.

The Kurdish security forces known as Asayesh said the attack hit 10 metres (yards) from a checkpoint outside Shadadi, but unlike the Observatory it said no one had died.

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“A bomb-laden car driven by a terrorist tried to target a coalition convoy as it passed by, lightly wounding a female member of the Asayesh,” the statement said, reporting no other injuries.

The reason for the conflicting casualty tolls was not immediately clear.

The Islamic State group’s propaganda channel Amaq claimed the attack.

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The car bombing came less than a week after another attack, also claimed by IS, on the US-led force and its local partners in the strategic city of Manbij.

Four Americans — two members of the military, a Pentagon civilian and a contractor — were killed in a suicide bombing targeting a restaurant in the city centre on January 16.

That attack cost Washington its worst combat losses since it deployed in the war-torn country to combat IS jihadists, who established a self-proclaimed “caliphate” across swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

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Ten civilians and five SDF fighters were also killed in the Manbij attack.

The US had previously reported only two American personnel killed in combat in Syria, in separate incidents.

Later on Monday, IS threatened US forces and their allies with new attacks, saying on the Telegram messaging app that “what happened to them in Hasakeh and Manbij is only the beginning”.

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– ‘Provocation’ –

This month’s attacks targeting the US-led coalition and its allies follow US President Donald Trump’s shock December announcement that he had ordered a complete troop pullout from Syria, as IS had been “largely defeated”.

AFP/File / Delil souleiman Vehicles of the US-led coalition battling the Islamic State group patrol the town of Rmelane in Syria’s Hasakeh province on June 5, 2018

Trump and other senior US officials have since sent mixed messages about the pace and scope of the withdrawal.

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On Sunday, a former envoy to the US-led coalition said the United States had no plan for Syria after the pullout.

Brett McGurk, who quit in protest after Trump’s pullout announcement, told an interview with CBS “there’s no plan for what’s coming next” and this is increasing the risk to US forces.

Turkey has repeatedly urged Washington to make way for its own military plans in northern Syria, where the beleaguered Kurds are increasingly turning to the regime and its Russian sponsor for support.

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In a phone call with Trump on Sunday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said Ankara was ready to take over ensuring the security of Manbij.

He said last week’s deadly attack was a “provocation” aiming to impact the decision to withdraw US troops from Syria, where a civil war has killed more than 360,000 people since 2011.

The SDF is fighting to expel IS fighters from the remaining shreds of their “caliphate” in eastern Syria near the Iraqi border, but the jihadists have continued to claim attacks nationwide and abroad.

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Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. Like you, we here at Raw Story believe in the power of progressive journalism — and we’re investing in investigative reporting as other publications give it the ax. Raw Story readers power David Cay Johnston’s DCReport, which we've expanded to keep watch in Washington. We’ve exposed billionaire tax evasion and uncovered White House efforts to poison our water. We’ve revealed financial scams that prey on veterans, and efforts to harm workers exploited by abusive bosses. We’ve launched a weekly podcast, “We’ve Got Issues,” focused on issues, not tweets. Unlike other news sites, we’ve decided to make our original content free. But we need your support to do what we do.

Raw Story is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. We’re not part of a conglomerate, or a project of venture capital bros. From unflinching coverage of racism, to revealing efforts to erode our rights, Raw Story will continue to expose hypocrisy and harm. Unhinged from corporate overlords, we fight to ensure no one is forgotten.

We need your support to keep producing quality journalism and deepen our investigative reporting. Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Invest with us in the future. Make a one-time contribution to Raw Story Investigates, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you.



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Trump-loving “hate group” leader struggles to defend chauvinism during CNN interview on Portland chaos

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Portland, Oregon on Saturday was the scene of another far-right mobilization by groups such as the Proud Boys and Patriot Prayer.

CNN's Sara Sidner interviewed Enrique Tarrio, who succeeded Gavin McInnes as the chairman of the Proud Boys. The group is listed as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Tarrio had traveled from Miami to take part in the far-right rally in Portland and appeared to be wearing body armor.

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‘Go back to Harlem!’: Florida woman has n-word laced meltdown after bumping black woman’s shopping cart

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On Saturday, the Atlanta Black Star reported an incident in Florida, in which a white woman screamed racial slurs at a black woman at a Publix supermarket in Miami after their shopping carts jostled each other.

After the woman allegedly banged into Nicki Johnson's cart, she refused to apologize, saying, "I didn't hit you with my cart, and f**k you,  you f**king n****r."

Johnson whipped out her cell phone camera, and began recording the incident, saying "You, why don't you call me a n****r again?"

"You thinking I'm sorry?" snapped the woman. "Let me tell you something, I don't have to call you anything. Get away from me, I will call security and there are surveillance videos. Get away from me!"

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‘I’m a nurse, what are you?’: Tennessee lawmaker humiliates anti-choice activists in brutal public grilling

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Anti-choice activists in Tennessee were unprepared for the grilling they got from a Democratic Party lawmaker when making the case for a bill that would outlaw abortion before many women knew they were pregnant.

One of the speakers in favor of the fetal heartbeat bill was Baptist Pastor Randy Davis, who was questioned by state Sen. Katrina Robinson (D-Memphis).

"How many women executive pastors do you have in your convention?" Robinson asked Davis. "Or senior pastors."

"None," Davis replied.

"So is it the same ideology that restricts access to women being able to lead a congregation that leads you all to support women not being able to make a medical decision about their body?" Robinson asked.

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