Syrian rebel group says US-led coalition behind mosque strike


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.

Ahrar al-Sham, a powerful Syrian rebel group, on Friday said the US -led coalition against Islamic State was behind a deadly mosque attack near Syria's Aleppo that a war monitor said killed dozens of people on Thursday evening.

According to reports, at least 42 Syrian civilians lost their lives when USA warplanes bombed a mosque full of worshipers on Thursday night during evening prayers in a village west of Aleppo.

Instead Centcom sent out a press release saying the U.S. had carried out a strike on al-Qaida targets in Idlib province in which "several terrorists" were killed. A journalist for the monitoring project Airwars said that CENTCOM officials had confirmed the strike was carried out by US forces. "The death toll may rise in the next few hours", he told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity for safety concerns. Drones also showed local residents moving bodies out of the building that was hit and towards the still standing building next door. It said many people are still trapped in the rubble of the collapsed mosque.The London-based observatory said it was unable to determine whose planes carried out the raid.

The village, in Atarib District, is rebel held, but that doesn't necessarily narrow it down all that much as to who was attacking.

Meanwhile, the Syrian Civil Defence, volunteer paramedics known as the White Helmets, said three civilians were killed in an early morning airstrike on the village of Sheikh Ali in the Aleppo countryside.

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However, according to journalist Samuel Oakford, who was previously United Nations correspondent at Vice News, the U.S. central Command confirmed it had carried out a strike in relative close proximity to the mosque.

Along with the Syrians and Russians, a US -led coalition has warplanes operating separately in Syria.

"It was right after the prayer at a time when there is usually religious lessons for men in it", Muhammed added.

Since then, more than 320,000 people have been killed and 11 million displaced in the conflict, according to activists.

A ceasefire between government forces and non-jihadist rebel groups was brokered by rebel backer Turkey and regime ally Russian Federation in December, but violence has continued.

Russian Federation began a military intervention in Syria in September 2015, and in the past has dismissed allegations of civilian deaths in its strikes.