US claims Syria strike that killed 46 civilians

White Helmets dig through the rubble after the airstrike. Pic/AFP
White Helmets dig through the rubble after the airstrike. Pic/AFP

Al-Jineh: The US said it carried out an air strike in Syria against an Al-Qaeda meeting but denied deliberately targeting a mosque where a monitor said today 46 people were killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said most of the dead in the Thursday evening raid on Al-Jineh, in the northern province of Aleppo, were civilians. The US-led coalition has been bombing jihadist groups in war-torn Syria since 2014, with hundreds of civilians unintentionally killed in the country and in neighbouring Iraq.

“We did not target a mosque, but the building that we did target – which was where the meeting took place – is about 50 feet 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 air strike 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 hit 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. “More than 100 people were wounded,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said on Thursday, adding that many were still trapped under the collapsed mosque in the village of Al-Jineh.

Syria shoots down Israeli plane
Syria’s army said yesterday it shot down an Israeli plane that had been carrying out pre-dawn raids on a military target near Palmyra, the famed desert city it recently recaptured from jihadists. The army said in a statement. “Our air defence engaged them and shot down one warplane over occupied territory, hit another one and forced the rest to flee.”

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