The US military is denying reports that it bombed a mosque in northwestern Syria during evening prayers March 16, killing at least 50. There is even controversy over whether the Omar Ibn al-Khattab Mosque in al-Jinah (Jeena) village, Aleppo governorate, is still standing. The Pentagon admits to a an air-strike that supposedly killed several al-Qaeda militants in the village, which is held by Islamist factions including Ahrar al-Sham. The Pentagon released a statement saying the strike was "across the street from a mosque," with footage (supposedly taken minutes after the strike) showing that a mosque next to a destroyed building remained standing. (Al Jazeera, BBC News, Reuters) But Bilal Abdul Kareem, a US national who operates On the Ground News from northern Syria, recorded his own video from the purported bombing site. Kareem shows what he calls part of the "mosque compound" in ruins, and claims the mosque was operated by Jamaat Tablighi, a proselytization group that has hosted prayers there every Thursday for the past four years. (LWJ)
Before it became reasonably evident that the US was behind this atrocity, you can imagine the tension felt by pro-Assad pseudo-anti-war types in the West. They needed to know whether the US or Russia did it in order to know whether or not it was an atrocity. If it was the US, this is the approved narrative: Peace-loving Muslims viciously attacked by mass-murdering imperialist aggressors. If it was Russia: Mass-murdering CIA-jihadists got what was coming to 'em. Go team!
Russian warplanes, in fact, exacted their own carnage that same day. At least 11 civilians were killed in Russian air-strikes targeting a livestock market in ISIS-held Oqayrabat village, Hama governorate. (AFP)
Not to be left out of the fun, Israel also resumed its sporadic air-strikes on Syrian territory, hitting what Prime Minister Netanyahu called "advanced" weapons bound for Hezbollah. One presumably pro-Assad faction lobbed several missiles into Israel following the air-raid, with at least one intercepted by the Arrow air defense system. (Arutz Sheva, Al Jazeera, NYT)