US claims deadly north Syria strike, denies targeting mosque: Centcom

March 17, 2017
By: Samaa Web Desk
Published in Global

TOPSHOTS - Smoke rises from buildings in Syria's eastern town of Deir Ezzor on August 13, 2013 following an airstrike by government forces. Syrian opposition activists, including National Coalition members, have drawn up a transitional roadmap including a call for national reconciliation and justice for "all of Syria's victims," a statement said.     TOPSHOTS / AFP PHOTO / ABO SHUJA        (Photo credit should read ABO SHUJA/AFP/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON: The US military said Thursday it carried out a deadly air strike on an Al-Qaeda meeting in northern Syria and would investigate reports that more than 40 civilians were killed when a mosque was struck in the raid.

“We did not target a mosque, but the building that we did target — which was where the meeting took place — is about 50 feet (15 meters) from a mosque that is still standing,” said Colonel John J. Thomas, spokesman for US Central Command.

According to a Centcom statement, “US forces conducted an airstrike on an Al-Qaeda in Syria meeting location March 16 in Idlib, Syria, killing several terrorists.”

The Centcom spokesman later clarified that the precise location of the strike was unclear — but that it was the same one widely reported to have targeted the village mosque in Al-Jineh, in Aleppo province.

“We are going to look into any allegations of civilian casualties in relation to this strike,” he added, when asked about reports from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that 42 people had died, most of them civilians.

“We take that very seriously,” he said, adding that Centcom had not received any direct reports of civilian casualties.

Thomas said the unilateral US strike “destroyed one half of a building in which the meeting was occurring.”

Al-Jineh is held by rebel and Islamist groups, but no jihadist factions are thought to be present.

The Britain-based Observatory said that raids by unidentified warplanes had targeted the village mosque during evening prayers.

It said more than 100 people were wounded, with many still trapped under the collapsed mosque. – AFP


Email This Post

Story first published: 17th March 2017

 

Tags:

 

Click to Comment

Your email address will not be published.