05:59 GMT19 June 2021
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    Although reports detailing the recent deaths of four Americans in Manbij, Syria, will ultimately support the argument that US forces should remain in the war-torn country, Washington should still work toward withdrawing its servicemembers, investigative reporter Rick Sterling told Sputnik.

    The United States Central Command confirmed Wednesday that the four Americans were killed in the suicide attack when they were "conducting a local engagement." The detachment included a contractor, a US Department of Defense civilian and two soldiers, Sputnik previously reported.

    This latest development comes weeks after US President Donald Trump claimed that Daesh militants had been defeated in the region, and as such, the estimated 2,000-strong US forces in Syria would be withdrawn.

    "The hawks and the neocons who've opposed the pullout from the start… they are definitely going to be jumping on this," Sterling told Radio Sputnik's Loud & Clear on Wednesday of the Manbij attack. "Over the last few days I've seen a real escalation in the intensity of the attacks and the criticism of the US forces withdrawing from Syria."

    ​Sterling, who is a member of the Syria Solidarity Movement, stressed that "the best thing would be for the US to get out of [Syria]. It's first and foremost the fight of the people on the ground there."

    "It's not really the US' fight, and the US' goals and motivations there aren't really in the interest of the people there; it's got more to do with US geopolitical maneuvering," he told hosts Brian Becker and Walter Smolarek.

    Footage shared on social media of the blast in Manbij shows various buildings that suffered extensive damage and streets covered with debris and blood. Other than the four Americans who died, three other US servicemembers sustained injuries. The blast also claimed the lives of several residents who were in the vicinity of the explosion.

    ​Following reports of the attack, US Vice President Mike Pence doubled down on Trump's past remarks on Wednesday, stating that the "caliphate has crumbled" and that the Daesh militant network "has been defeated."

    In a subsequent statement, Pence offered his condolences to the families and condemned the attack. However, he persisted and maintained his stance that the US has "crushed the ISIS [Daesh] caliphate and devastated its capabilities."

    CNN reported that prior to the events in Manbij, only two US soldiers had been killed in action in Syria since forces first arrived in 2014.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.


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