By Associated Press
January 16, 2019

(BEIRUT) — Vice President Mike Pence is claiming that the Islamic State “caliphate has crumbled” and the militant network “has been defeated.”

But his comments Wednesday in a speech at the State Department came shortly after the U.S. military said American service members were among those killed during an explosion during a routine patrol in Syria.

It’s unknown how many U.S. troops were killed in the blast in the northern Syria town of Manbij.

Pence defended President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the 2,000 U.S. troops from Syria. Critics say the pullout is premature.

He says the withdrawal will be “orderly and effective” and that the U.S. will stay in the region to make sure IS does not regroup.

Contact us at editors@time.com.

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