An investigation by the US Department of Defence at the Pentagon has confirmed that a US air strike in March destroyed a mosque in Al-Jina, Northern Syria, CNN has reported. Fifty-six civilians were killed during the deadly attack.
A few days after the strike, the US rejected accusations that it had targeted the mosque. Pentagon spokesman Jeff Davis said at the time that the US air force had hit a “partially constructed community hall” used by Al-Qaeda fighters. “We do not currently assess that there were any civilian casualties,” he added.
However, the Pentagon investigation found that the mosque was listed for “religious use” at the time, which means that it should not have warranted a strike. The air force apparently targeted a building which was part of the mosque complex.
An American journalist with On the Ground News reported that the Omar Bin Khattab mosque in Al-Jina was indeed targeted. In a video report, Bilal Abdul Kareem showed the damaged infrastructure and surroundings of the building.
Last month, an investigation by Human Rights Watch also found no evidence to support the initial US claim that members of armed groups or Al-Qaeda were meeting in the mosque or associated buildings. Local people claimed that it was a well-known mosque in the area. An independent investigation by Bellingcat, shared with HRW and Forensic Architecture, provided documentary evidence of the damage to the buildings.