Syria: US-led coalition strikes mosque deliberately in eastern Syria

23rd Oct 2018
Syria: US-led coalition strikes mosque deliberately in eastern Syria

By Umar Farooq

 

WASHINGTON (AA): The U.S.-led coalition in Syria on Monday targeted and destroyed a mosque in the Deir ez-Zor province, according to a top pentagon official.

Pentagon spokesman Col. Rob Manning told reporters the mosque was deliberately targeted by U.S. forces because it was being used as a command center by Daesh.

“When ISIS deliberately chooses to use the building as a command and control facility, ISIS caused it to lose its protected status,” Manning said, referring to Daesh.

Manning added the mosque was monitored by U.S. forces to ensure “only ISIS fighters would be present.”

He did not give the number of casualties but said the coalition was investigating any allegations of civilian deaths.

This is the second coalition strike in less than a week on a Daesh fighting position that originated from a mosque in Deir ez-Zor, according to Manning. A total of three mosques, however, have been struck by coalition forces in the past week.

Last week, a coalition airstrike targeted a mosque in Al-Susah in eastern Deir ez-Zor during the weekly Friday prayer, killing 16 people, according to local sources.

On Thursday, 30 civilians, including two children, were killed in an airstrike on Ammar ben Yasir mosque in Al-Susah. Thirteen were killed in the same town Wednesday.

Six more civilians were killed in another strike hit a local religious institute in Hajin City in the same province, the sources added.

Since Wednesday, at least 65 civilians have been killed in the province from airstrikes carried out by U.S.-led forces.

With U.S. and French support, the YPG, the Syrian branch of the PKK which is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the U.S. and the EU, recently launched an offensive against Deir ez-Zor’s City of Hajin with an aim of taking it from Daesh forces, leading to clashes between the two sides.

Daesh currently holds control of Hajin, Al-Susah and Al-Shaafah, as well as the villages of Al-Muhasan and Bu-Khater.

The YPG maintains a presence in the eastern part of the Euphrates River which runs through Deir ez-Zor province.

[Map of Syria. Photo by Tubs/Wikimedia Commons/Creative Commons]

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