The U.S. military confirmed an airstrike against Al Qaeda in northern Syria and claims an investigation is underway concerning a nearby Mosque that was also struck, which according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights has killed at least 56 civilians.
U.S. Central Command released the statement: “US forces conducted an airstrike on an Al-Qaeda in Syria meeting location March 16 in Idlib, Syria, killing several terrorists.”
Much of the concern is that the Mosque, located only 15 meters away from the air raid, was also struck, although the U.S. Central Command denies any wrongdoing.
A spokesman for the U.S. military, Colonel John J. Thomas, commented: “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 metres) from a mosque that is still standing.”
A freelance journalist Bilal Abdul Kareem reports from the scene:
US claims that it’s airstrike that killed 56 in Jeena didn’t hit the mosque are false. See for yourself pic.twitter.com/tInKTlMTME
— Bilal Abdul Kareem (@BilalKareem) March 17, 2017
Al Jazeera’s Natasha Ghoneim reports, “Right now, Syrian Civil Defense personnel are struggling to get people from under the rubble of a mosque in the village of Al Jinah in the western countryside of Aleppo province.”
She continued, “They say that dozens of people were killed in the strike there and that several people are believed to be still alive under the rubble. They are trying to get them out and, according to the Syrian Civil Defense, more bodies are to be recovered.”
Head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman added “the raids by unidentified warplanes targeted a mosque in Aleppo province during evening prayers.”
Thomas later clarified that the precise location of the strike is unclear and added, “We are going to look into any allegations of civilian casualties in relation to this strike.”
Libertarians have advocated for the non-aggression principle questioning the morality of the actions themselves but also the strategic interests as civilian casualties, especially in a mosque, will undoubtedly fuel terrorism and recruitment for terrorism.
Photo Credit: Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
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