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Recent Terror Attack in Syria Associated With U.S. Troop Presence


Foreign military presence increases the likelihood of terror attacks, especially suicide bombings like this week’s attack against U.S. troops in Syria.

In the News:

“The four Americans killed in Manbij, Syria on Wednesday — two soldiers, a Defense Department civilian and a military contractor — matched the largest number of deaths from hostile fire in a single incident overseas since Donald Trump became president.”

“Manbij, wrested from the militants by U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish fighters and American air power in 2016, is a nexus of the interests and conflicts of the many players in Syria. As various interests squabbled in recent months over political and military control of the town, 25 miles south of the Turkish border, the Islamic State was the one actor that appeared to have been eliminated from the contest. Instead, the bombing showed that it is likely to remain a force to be reckoned with in Syria for the foreseeable future.”

“The four deaths doubled the total number of U.S. personnel killed by hostile fire in Syria since the deployment there began just over three years ago. It matched the number of Special Operations troops killed in a militant attack in Niger in October 2017.”

Peace Science Insights

  • Deployment of troops to another country increases the chance of attacks from terror organizations from that country.
  • Weapons exports to another country increase the chance of attacks from terror organizations from that country.
  • 95% of all suicide terrorist attacks are conducted to encourage foreign occupiers to leave the terrorist’s home country.

Considering the increased vulnerability of both deployed troops and citizens at home, governments should take this research into account when deciding whether to provide military support. Moreover, this research has the potential to shift narratives and action away from a militaristic response to terrorism, toward the proven nonviolent alternatives of non-military intervention.


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