CBSN

U.S. soldier killed in Syria identified as Master Sgt. Johnathan J. Dunbar

Last Updated Mar 31, 2018 3:36 PM EDT

The Defense Department has identified the American soldier who died Friday in Manbij, Syria, as 36-year-old Master Sgt. Johnathan J. Dunbar of Austin, Texas. He was supporting Operation Inherent Resolve, the joint task force combating the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).

Dunbar died as a result of injuries when an IED -- improvised explosive device -- detonated, the DOD said in a statement Saturday. He was assigned to U.S. Army Special Operations Command headquarters at Fort Bragg.

The DOD said the incident, in which a British soldier was also killed, is under investigation. 

The British soldier has been named as Sgt. Matt Tonroe, the BBC reported.

msg-jonathan-dunbar-portrait.jpg

Johnathan J. Dunbar

U.S. Army Special Operations Command

Dunbar's death is the first U.S. combat death in Syria this year. It happened in a part of the war-torn country that was thought to be cleared of ISIS, and it came one day after President Trump signaled the U.S. may soon be leaving the region.

"We're going to be coming out of there real soon," Mr. Trump said Thursday, unexpectedly declaring that U.S. troops -- roughly 2,000 on the ground -- are on their way out of Syria.

"By the way, we are knocking the hell out of ISIS. We'll be coming out of Syria, like, very soon. Let the other people take care of it now," he said.

Those remarks threw State Department officials off balance.

"I have not seen the president's comments myself. I can say as a general matter, this administration looks to other countries to help out," State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said in a news briefing.