US Central Command has determined that the February shooting of US Marine Sergeant Cameron Halkovich by a Syrian Democratic Forces guard was most likely a case of intentional wounding.
A combat engineer with the 7th Marines, Halkovich was the sergeant of the guard at a remote Special Operations outpost in February when he was shot twice by a member of the SDF.
Despite the investigating officer finding the evidence “inconclusive,” with reports claiming that leadership claiming the guards were loyal and that “a negligent discharge impacting the ground and ricochets caused injuries” to Halkovich.
According to Task and Purpose, sources familiar with the incident claim that the wounds were “consistent with direct impact,” and that witnesses saw the man aim at Halkovich before aiming his weapon toward another Marine, Cpl. Kane Downey, who killed the guard with a controlled pair of shots before providing aid to his superior.
Following the incident, Downey was awarded the Joint Commendation Medal, while Halkovich was awarded a Purple Heart, making headlines due to the “undisclosed” nature of where the Marine was wounded.
The incident was the third major incident with the local SDF, with one being when SDF troops reportedly attempted to prevent Marines from bringing a truck full of dead and wounded civilians onto the base for processing and treatment, respectively.
In the end, the Marines defied the SDF and brought the civilians in for treatment.
Reports familiar with both incidents point to a continued alliance, but suggest an increase of vigilance as alliances and operations shift in the region.
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