Washington: The US-led coalition fighting Daesh in eastern Syria said Monday that it had bombarded a mosque believed to be a military command post for the extremists — the second such strike in a week.
The coalition said that on Monday, it had “destroyed several buildings” used by Daesh fighters to “launch attacks against Syrian Democratic Force partners” in the village of Sousa.
One of the buildings was a “mosque that was being used as a defensive fighting position and command centre,” it said in a statement, adding that several Daesh fighters had been killed as they fired on coalition forces.
It was the second mosque targeted by the coalition in four days because it was an alleged Daesh fighting station.
The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces are battling the extremists in the region. The SDF has chased Daesh out of swathes of Syria’s north and east.
On Sunday, coalition spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan said a similar strike had taken place in Sousa on Thursday against a mosque being used as a “command and control centre.”
Ryan said “12 Daesh terrorists” were killed in that raid..
Religious buildings are normally protected under the Geneva Conventions, unless they are “used for military purposes,” Pentagon spokesman Colonel Rob Manning said Monday.
“When [Daesh] deliberately chooses to use the building as a command and control facility, [Daesh] caused it to lose its protected status,” he added.
According to the Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, Thursday’s strike killed 18 civilians, including seven children, all of whom were related to Daesh extremists.
It said 11 Daesh fighters were also killed in the raid.
The coalition says in both cases, only Daesh fighters were present.
The two mosques are located roughly three kilometres apart, a US military official said.
The extremists are the “military targets,” Manning said. “They’re nasty, they’re brutal. They’re unethical and they certainly have no problem at all putting civilians at risk.”