The United States Department of Defense on Friday confirmed that it has suffered its first combat death in Syria in the fight against extremist group Islamic State (IS).
A US Special Operations Force member, not yet identified to the public, was killed near Ayn Issa in northern Syria by an improvised explosive device.
"I am deeply saddened by the news on this Thanksgiving Day that one of our brave service members has been killed in Syria while protecting us from the evil of IS," Xinhua news agency quoted US Defense Secretary Ash Carter as saying in a statement.
At least 300 US Special Operations members are on ground in Syria as part of the fight against the IS, a fact only acknowledged by the Obama administration a year ago.
As Iraqi forces have pushed into IS-held Mosul in northern Iraq during recent weeks, the US-led coalition forces have also been preparing for an offensive into Raqqa, the group's stronghold in northern Syria.
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