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Coalition patrol comes under small arms fire in northeastern Syria

A coalition patrol came under small arms fire in northeastern Syria on Wednesday and has since returned to base, according to US-led coalition forces statement.

Tensions in the region heightened after a US drone strike killed Iran’s top military commander in January, prompting the country to launch a missile attack on an American base in Iraq.

Wednesday’s confrontation happened in Qamishli, Syria, after coalition forces on patrol encountered a checkpoint occupied by pro-Syrian regime forces, according to a statement posted on Twitter by Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggins III.

After the coalition patrol issued a series of warnings to de-escalate, it came under small arms fire from unknown individuals and returned fire in self-defense, according to the statement.

Pentagon spokesperson Lt. Col. Carla Gleason said in a statement that no coalition service members were killed. Caggins added in a second tweet that one US service member “had a minor superficial scratch while operating their equipment” and that the individual is now back on duty.

The incident is under investigation.

The attack on Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian commander, moved the region closer to war after the country retaliated the following the week. Though President Donald Trump announced there were no casualties in the attack on the American base in Iraq, over 100 US service members have been diagnosed with mild traumatic brain injuries in the wake of the incident.

Congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle have raised concerns about the killing of Soleimani, with some saying the Trump administration did not provide evidence of the “imminent” threat that administration officials have claimed the commander posed to US forces in the region. But Trump has continued to defend the strike, saying at his State of the Union address last week that “our message to the terrorists is clear: … If you attack our citizens, you forfeit your life.”

This story is breaking and will be updated.