American airman arrested in connection with April attack on US base in Syria

U.S. soldiers assigned to 2nd Platoon, Alpha Company, 1/163rd Combined Arms Battalion, operate Bradley M2A3 Fighting Vehicles during a live fire exercise in Syria on March 25, 2022. Live fire exercises provide the Syrian Democratic Forces and coalition partners with the opportunity to simulate combat in a controlled environment. (Spc. William Gore/Army)

Military law enforcement on June 16 arrested an American airman as part of an ongoing investigation into an insider attack on a small U.S. base in northern Syria that injured four service members in April, CNN reported Tuesday.

“An airman was taken into custody stateside in conjunction with the attack in Green Village, Syria,” Air Force spokesperson Ann Stefanek told CNN. “After reviewing the information in the investigation, the airman’s commander made the decision to place him in pretrial confinement.”

Stefanek did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Air Force Times Tuesday evening.

She declined to disclose the airman’s name unless he is charged in military court, which could come in the next few weeks, according to CNN. Stefanek has not provided the man’s unit, career field or whether he was an active duty member, or where he is being held.

U.S. Central Command has described Green Village in northeast Syria as a “Syrian Democratic Forces base with a small coalition advisory presence.” It’s unclear which airmen work out of that post.

On April 14, one week after the attack, Operation Inherent Resolve officials announced that the explosions were not caused by indirect fire on the installation, but “the deliberate placement of explosive charges … at an ammunition holding area and shower facility.”

CNN previously reported that the explosives were more powerful than hand grenades, but did not specify what type of weapon was used. Stefanek did not answer whether the Air Force Office of Special Investigations and the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division are looking into any other suspects.

The service members who were injured in the blast were treated for traumatic brain injuries and returned to work. They are among approximately 900 American troops who remain in Syria to back government opponents in the ongoing civil war there, now in its 11th year.

Rachel Cohen joined Air Force Times as senior reporter in March 2021. Her work has appeared in Air Force Magazine, Inside Defense, Inside Health Policy, the Frederick News-Post (Md.), the Washington Post, and others.

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About the Author

Tony Beasley
Tony Beasley writes for the Local News, US and the World Section of ANH.