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The Department of Defense publishes on Friday the names of three Americans killed in a suicide bombing in a restaurant in Manby in northern Syria. The fourth American victim is a military contractor and has not yet been identified in the attack, allegedly killing 15 people.
The three men who died in the Wednesday attack were Chief of Army 2 Jonathan R. Fermer, 37, Boynton Beach, Fla. Shannon M. Kent, 35, from New York, and Scott A. Wirth of St. Louis, a civilian who was appointed to the Defense Intelligence Agency as a maintenance specialist.
Fort Bragg through AP
Farmer is a green beret, reports Associated Press. His father told the news service that Fermer was 13 years old and was previously assigned to Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq
Kent is a naval translator and mother of two children, AP reported. New York Governor Andrew Kuoom said Kent had grown up in Pine Plains, New York, and was the daughter of the Field Police Field Commander. Kuoom ordered flags of government buildings, reduced to half of Kent's staff.
Wirtz is a former Navy SEAL and will be buried at the Arlington National Cemetery, AP reported. that the Islamic state is defeated. In December, President Trump said: "We won against Isis, we beat them and we defeated them badly, we took the land back, and now it's time for our troops to come back home."
The attack on Wednesday showed another reality. Pentagon spokesman Charles Summers said in a statement that "when the attack on Wednesday demonstrates ISIS continues to be a threat, we will continue to strike the remains of ISIS to destroy all remaining networks and ensure its lasting defeat."
Manbij is on the northern border of Syria with Turkey. The city was once under the control of IDIK, while the US-backed Kurdish troops drove them away. Tom Bowman of the NPR reports that the United States is ahead of the Turkish border and that Americans are usually patrolling in Manby. The United States is training local forces to take on patrolling duties – a move that has been put into uncertainty by the announcement of Trump in December that the US will withdraw.
In July Senator Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., visited the area. He said on Wednesday that the president should "look long and stubborn when he goes to Syria."
Graham said he believed he had eaten at the restaurant he was targeting. A vegetable vendor near the restaurant told the New York Times that Americans are regularly present there.
This may have left troops outside, said Seth Jones, a counterterrorism expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
"A number of Americans have visited the restaurant," said Jones for the NPR. – Members of the Congress, civilians, intelligence officers, including the Defense Intelligence Agency. This raises many questions about the operational security procedures that Americans have practiced there.
Jones said the Islamic state has moved into a "guerrilla phase," with the United States being the main target. Earlier, Jones said, Isis faced the Iraqi and Syrian security forces directly. However, the group has lost territory in recent years and they have adapted their approach.
Kurdish-led forces are concerned about ISIS's cell clusters, according to CNN's Clarissa Ward who reported from Manbij days before the attack. She said two local security proposals were killed in the bombing the day before the Americans were prosecuted.
We were in Manby a few days ago, right next to the blast. She was tense. Two local officers were killed in the bombing a day before. The cells of the Isis satellites are a real concern for the Kurdish forces being led here. For a good reason, as we have seen today. January 16, 2019
When Bowman of the NPR visited Manbij in February 2018, he found a lively city with about 100,000 inhabitants with a busy market and functional schools more than a year after the Islamic state was expelled.
But the legacy of the extremist group remained close, in the cut limbs of the survivors who survived the harsh system of the Islamic state and the threat of continuing attacks. ISIS fighters returned for casual attacks, including the March 2018 bombing, which killed US Sergeant Jonathan Dunbar and a British soldier.
The Kurdish forces told Bowman that they were strained between fighting the Islamic state, repelling the Turkish forces to the north, and defending themselves from militias linked to the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad in the south. The possible withdrawal of the United States shook the Kurdish forces. In December, the official Kurdish tweet YPG twisted: "We invite the Syrian government to exercise control over the areas our forces, especially Manby, have withdrawn from protecting these areas from a Turkish invasion."