May 31, 2016 / 4:30 PM / 4 years ago

Two U.S. service members injured in Iraq, Syria: Pentagon

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Two U.S. service members were injured over the weekend, one each in Iraq and Syria, a Pentagon spokesman said on Tuesday.

“They were not on the front lines, they were not engaged in active combat, but they were hit in both cases by indirect fire and suffered injuries,” Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis said.

The United States has authorized 4,087 troops in Iraq and 300 in Syria.

Since December, Iraqi forces trained by the U.S. military and backed by coalition air strikes have taken back territory from Islamic State, which seized swathes of Iraq and Syria in 2014.

Defense Secretary Ash Carter told reporters in Huachuca, Arizona, that the injuries were a result of combat.

“Yes of course ... these people were in harms way as part of the campaign plan execution to defeat ISIL,” Carter said in response to a question.

Davis did not say to which branch of the military the injured belonged, but said they were carrying out advise and assist duties.

He said the incident in Iraq took place in the north, near Erbil, while the injury in Syria was north of Raqqa, Islamic State’s de facto capital.

Reporting by Idrees Ali; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom; Editing by Alan Crosby and Leslie Adler

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