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Dozens of worshippers killed during air raid on mosque near Aleppo

Dozens of worshippers killed during air raid on mosque near Aleppo

Ahrar al-Sham, a powerful Syrian rebel group, on Friday said the USA -led coalition against Islamic State was behind a deadly mosque attack near Syria's Aleppo that a war monitor said killed dozens of people on Thursday evening.

The Syrian and Russian air forces also carry out frequent strikes in Aleppo and Idlib provinces against both Western-backed and al-Qaeda linked rebel forces.

"US official says that they were targeting an "Al Qaeda meeting place" that was across from the mosque in Aleppo". Some human rights activists and monitors alleged that the USA had targeted the mosque, but a senior US military official told NBC News that it was not their intention to hit the place of worship, which was about 50 feet from their target. The first responders and local activists reported a lower death toll, saying at least 20 people had been killed.

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

Up to 300 people were said to have been worshipping in the mosque at the time of the strike, with many still trapped underneath rubble hours later.

There are concerns about an increased risk of civilian casualties as U.S. President Donald Trump considers options to accelerate the fight against Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.

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Russian and Syrian aircraft operate there and USA warplanes also target jihadist rebels in the region.

But the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitoring group, said both buildings together make up the mosque.

The village is held by Islamist groups, but the Observatory said no jihadist factions are present in it. It was right after prayers at a time when there are usually religious lessons for men in it.

More than 320,000 people have been killed in Syria since the conflict with anti-government protests six years ago.

The Syrian and Russian military have carried out many air strikes in Idlib and Aleppo provinces during the war.

The US-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be the Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from Damascus or a United Nations mandate.

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