News Briefs – October 5, 2016

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U.S. service member killed by roadside bomb in Afghanistan

The U.S. military says a U.S. commando has been killed in Afghanistan after being hit by a roadside bomb while on patrol with Afghan forces in a northeastern province bordering Pakistan.
U.S. forces have been conducting counterterror operations with Afghan troops against Islamic State militants in Achin, Nangarhar province. The U.S. military says the commando, whose name was not released, died from wounds sustained when the patrol triggered an improvised explosive device.
Gen. John Nicholson, commander of U.S. forces in Afghanistan, says the U.S. remains committed to defeating the Islamic State Khorasan group, the IS affiliate in Afghanistan.
The U.S. has been conducting airstrikes near Achin. Last week Afghan officials said a U.S. airstrike hit a house, killing civilians. The U.S. says it’s looking into the incident. AP
 

Russia sends more air defense missiles to Syria

The Russian military said Oct. 4 it had beefed up its forces in Syria with state-of-the-art air defense missiles, an announcement that follows Washington’s move to suspend contacts with Russia over Syria.
The deployment immediately raised questions in the Pentagon, which wondered about its purpose.
Russian Defense Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Igor Konashenkov said a battery of the S-300 air defense missile systems had been sent to Syria to protect a Russian facility in the Syrian port of Tartus and Russian navy ships off the Mediterranean coast. Tartus is the only naval supply facility Russia has outside the former Soviet Union.
The deployment adds more punch to the Russian military force in Syria, which already includes long-range S-400 missile defense systems and an array of other surface-to-air missiles at the Hemeimeem air base in Syria’s coastal province of Latakia.
Russia has conducted an air campaign in support of Syrian President Bashar Assad since Sept. 30 2015, saving his army from imminent defeat and helping it win key ground.
The S-300 deployment was announced a day after the U.S. announced it was suspending direct diplomatic contacts with Russia on ending the war in Syria. Washington’s decision followed the collapse of the Russia-U.S.-brokered cease-fire in Syria and the Syrian army’s onslaught on Aleppo backed by Russian warplanes.
While Washington put diplomatic contacts on hold, it has maintained a military-to-military dialogue intended to prevent incidents in the air between Russian and the U.S-led coalition aircraft over Syria. AP

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