U.S. military denies reports it bombed mosque in Syria

The New York Times reports: The United States military said that it had carried out an airstrike against a meeting of Qaeda militants on Thursday in Syria and that a number of the extremists had been killed.

The American military statement came as Syria activists reported that a mosque had been bombed and that scores of innocent civilians had been killed and wounded.

A spokesman for the United States Central Command said the American aircraft had struck a nearby building, but did not hit the mosque.

“We did not target any mosques,” said Col. John J. Thomas, a spokesman for the Central Command, which has responsibility for American military missions in the Middle East. “What we did target was destroyed. There is a mosque within 50 feet of that building that is still standing.”

But one local activist, Mohamed al Shaghel, said the people who had been struck had “no affiliation with any military faction or any political side.”

“I passed by the hospital,” he said. “I was told that about 50 were killed and 50 wounded. Rescuers are still looking for bodies under the rubble.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the airstrike took place in Al Jinah, a village between the cities of Idlib and Aleppo. It said 42 people had been killed, most of them civilians, and described the attack as a “massacre.” [Continue reading…]

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