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U.S. Military Confirms Syria Air Strike, Denies Targeting Mosque

  • RFE/RL

Syrian rescuers dig through rubble following a reported air strike in the village of Al-Jineh in Aleppo Province on March 16.

The U.S. military says that it carried out an air strike against Al-Qaeda in northern Syria but did not target a mosque where dozens were killed on March 16.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said "unidentified warplanes targeted" the mosque in the rebel-held village of Al-Jineh, near the northern city of Aleppo, killing at least 42 people and wounding more than 100, mostly civilians.

Colonel John J. Thomas, spokesman for U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), said the air strike "did not target a mosque but the building that we did target…is about [15 meters] from a mosque that is still standing."

In a statement, CENTCOM said "U.S. forces conducted an air strike on an Al-Qaeda in Syria meeting location March 16 in Idlib, Syria, killing several terrorists."

Thomas later said that the precise location of the strike was unclear and said "we are going to look into any allegations of civilian casualties in relation to this strike."

His remarks came after local activists uploaded photos on Twitter of what appeared to be fragments of a U.S.-made Hellfire missile, The New York Times reported.

The authenticity of the photos could not be verified.

With reporting by AFP, dpa, and The New York Times
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