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US-backed Syrian forces thwart suicide bombing attempt at refugee camp

The Syrian Democratic Forces prevented a suicide bombing at the al Hol refugee camp resulting in the deaths of four Islamic State fighters, U.S. Central Commandsaid Thursday.

Seven ISIS members, some of whom were wearing suicide vests, drove toward the refugee camp in two vehicles shortly after midnight early Tuesday morning. Roughly 12 miles from the camp near the Um Fakik village, one of the vehicles, which was rigged with explosives, detonated prematurely, alerting Syrian Democratic Forces to the other vehicle.


When confronted, two ISIS fighters wearing suicide vests exited the second vehicle. One detonated his device, while the other was killed before being able to do so. The second vehicle was strapped with at least 50 kilograms of explosives.

No Syrian Democratic Forces members were injured in the incident.

Four of the seven ISIS fighters were killed, and one was apprehended, CENTCOM said, without explaining the status of the other two people. It also did not provide any details as to their identities.

"By taking immediate action, and showing disregard for their own safety, the Syrian Democratic Forces demonstrated their professionalism and commitment to creating and maintaining a safe and prosperous region for the people who make it their home,” Col. Joe Buccino, CENTCOM communications director, said in a statement. “The response of our partnered forces highlights not only dedication to their people, but also their tenacity and commitment to the enduring defeat of ISIS."

Earlier this month, the SDF arrested “dozens of ISIS operatives” while conducting security operations at the refugee camp.

Buccino said at the time that the arrests led to the “dissolution of a major ISIS facilitation network both within the camp and throughout Syria.”


There is concern from officials that the refugee camp is a breeding ground for terror groups and the radicalization of a new generation.

Dana Stroul, the deputy assistant secretary of defense for the Middle East, said in July, "The most durable solution to the challenges of these detention centers and the displaced person camps is for countries of origin to repatriate, rehabilitate, reintegrate, and, where appropriate, prosecute their nationals residing in northeast Syria."