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USA claims Syria strike, denies targeting mosque where 46 killed

18 March 2017

Warplanes struck a mosque on Thursday in the rebel-held village of Al-Jina, southwest of Atarib near Aleppo in Syria, killing at least 42 people and wounding dozens, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, said on Thursday.

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.

Al-Jinnah is located in the country's northwest - a region that includes Idlib province and the western parts of Aleppo province.

The U.S. Central Command based in Tampa, Florida, said separately that U.S. forces killed "several terrorists" in a strike at an al Qaeda meeting place in Idlib.

Details of the strike on the Al-Jinah mosque are scarce, but over 50 people might have been killed in the incident, according to various reports. "The death toll may rise in the next few hours", he told ARA News, speaking on condition of anonymity for safety concerns.

Much of the building, identified as a mosque by a black placard outside, had been flattened.

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The observatory said it wasn't known which side launched the attack. It was right after prayers at a time when there are usually religious lessons for men in it.

The village is held by Islamist groups, but the Observatory said no jihadist factions are present in it.

Turkey and the United States support the main opposition forces, while Russian Federation and Iran back Assad's government.

Armed opposition groups, Syrian government forces and its allies - including Russian Federation - and the US-led coalition should all make sure they adhere to the laws of war to reduce civilian loss of life.

Russian and Syrian aircraft operate there and U.S. warplanes also target jihadist rebels in the region. The coalition has been targeting the Islamic State group and al-Qaida's affiliate in northern Syria for more than two years, but it was not clear how the opposition group knew who carried out the strike.

USA claims Syria strike, denies targeting mosque where 46 killed