Airstrike on mosque near Aleppo in Syria 'kills 42'

The area is home to hundreds of thousands of Syrians displaced by fighting. The Pentagon said 10 al Qaeda operatives were killed near Idlib in February. He said the Pentagon would investigate any credible allegations it received.

Pentagon spokesman Captain Jeff Davis, addressing a Pentagon news conference, said he believed dozens of al Qaeda fighters were killed in the Thursday strike by manned and unmanned US aircraft on an al Qaeda meeting place in the village of al-Jina, Aleppo. The photo, which the military said was taken less than five minutes after the strike, showed extensive damage to the building.

He also admitted there "could be damage" to side of the mosque next door.

"The mosque is still standing and relatively unscathed", Davis countered on Friday. The Israeli fighter jets were returning from a mission in Syria, when several anti-aircraft missiles were launched at the Israeli fighter jets.

But Bilal Abdul Kareem, a New York-born filmmaker covering the Syrian war, claimed the mosque was actually part of the same complex US targeted. Russian and Syrian aircraft are known also to operate in the opposition-held region.

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Human rights activists and monitors claimed over social media that US strikes were responsible for the civilian casualties.

Neither the Russian nor the USA militaries, as well as Damascus, have yet to officially comment on the incident.

The aftermath of an airstrike near Aleppo on Thursday.

"The raids by unidentified warplanes targeted a mosque in Aleppo province during evening prayers, killing 42 people, majority civilians", said the head of the Britain-based Observatory, Rami Abdel Rahman. Some videos that appeared online showed rescue workers pulling children out of the rubble.

Al-Jina is located in one of the main rebel-held parts of Syria, the northwest that includes Idlib province and the western parts of Aleppo province, and its population has been swollen by refugees, United Nations agencies have said. Local residents put the death toll as high as 62 and said others could be buried alive in the wreckage. Such discrepancies are not uncommon in the immediate aftermath of attacks in Syria. "We know it was being used by al Qaida", Davis said.

  • Sonia Alvarado