US Air Force charges airman over ‘deliberate’ explosion on base in Syria in April

Service member facing slew of criminal charges for blast that injured 4; Pentagon says explosives were placed in airbase’s ammunition area and shower facility

In this February 7, 2018 file photo, American troops look out toward the border with Turkey from a small outpost near the town of Manbij, northern Syria. (AP Photo/Susannah George, File)
Illustrative: American troops look toward the border with Turkey from a small outpost near the town of Manbij, northern Syria, February 7, 2018. (AP Photo/Susannah George, File)

AP — The US Air Force has filed criminal charges against an airman in connection with an April explosion that injured US troops at a base in eastern Syria.

Tech. Sgt. David D. Dezwaan Jr. is facing several charges, including dereliction of duty, destroying military property, reckless endangerment and aggravated assault, in the blast that injured four service members. He has been held in confinement by the Air Force since June.

The US military initially reported that the injuries were caused by artillery or another form of indirect fire. But the Pentagon later said the April 7 attack was carried out by the “deliberate placement of explosive charges” by one or more individuals at an ammunition holding area and shower facility on the base, known as Green Village.

The Air Force, in a statement Thursday, said a preliminary hearing date has been set for August 23 at Hill Air Force Base in Utah.

Dezwaan, an explosive ordnance disposal specialist, also was charged with accessing a government computer with an unauthorized purpose and obtaining classified information.

The blasts hit two support buildings. Four service members were evaluated for minor injuries and possible traumatic brain injuries.

Officials have provided no insight into any motivation for the attack.

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