By Halit Suleyman
ALEPPO, Syria (AA & The Musim News): US has been accused of an aerial attack on a mosque during prayer time in the Syrian city of Aleppo which killed 58 people late on Thursday.
But a senior U.S. military official told NBC News that while there was a mosque about 50 feet from the U.S. target, the United States has photographic evidence that the mosque was not hit and was still standing.
The air raids took place in al-Jina in Aleppo
Local sources said the strike happened during evening prayers – while the mosque was at its most full. More than 100 people were wounded.
A US spokesperson told Airwars, a group that monitors coalition airstrikes in Syria and Iraq, that the target had been “assessed to be a meeting place for al Qaeda, and we took the strike.”
“It happened to be across the street from where there is a mosque,” said Major Josh Jacques, a CENTCOM spokesperson, adding that the mosque was not hit directly
“The raids by unidentified warplanes targeted a mosque in Aleppo province during evening prayers, killing 42 people, most of them civilians,” said the head of the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights Rami Abdel Rahman.
However, the rebels claim it was Russian jet that bombed the mosque. Civil defense official Yahya Javad said the attack also wounded dozens of others in the city’s Al-Etarip area.
“A warplane, which we believe was a Russian jet, bombed a mosque during prayer time in Jina village near the Al-Etarip district of Aleppo,” he said.
Javad said civil defense officials tried to rescue people from the mosque’s wreckage: “There were 200-300 people in the mosque [during the attack].”
He said the death toll could rise, despite efforts by civil defense teams to reach people trapped under the wreckage.
He stressed: “Attacking a mosque with a jet cannot be accepted.”
The reports come one day after at least 25 people were killed in a suicide bombing at the main court complex in Syria’s capital, Damascus, on the sixth anniversary of the start of the uprising against President Bashar al-Assad.
[Photo: Civil defense team members and people try to rescue people who were trapped under the debris of a Mosque after warcrafts belonging to USA airforces carried out airstrikes during night prayer in Al-Jineh village of Atarib district in Aleppo, Syria on March 17, 2017. Photographer: Muhabiri Aref Watad/AA]