A powerful Syrian opposition group and other opposition activists blamed the U.S.-led coalition of responsibility for the airstrike on the Omar Ibn al-Khattab Mosque in the Jeeneh district in Aleppo province.
But around the same time, at least 42 people were killed in an apparent airstrike on a nearby mosque, according to the British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights. A majority of those dead in the mosque attack are civilians, the observatory said in a statement, and the death toll is expected to rise, as more than 100 people are believed wounded while dozens were still trapped in the rubble early Friday. The observatory said it had no knowledge of who carried out the attack.
The official news agency, SANA, said another suicide explosion struck a restaurant in Rabweh district of Damascus, leading to an unknown number of casualties.
And, of course, this says nothing about the efforts to bring to an end the war that the Assad regime has largely inflicted on the Syrian people.
“We haven’t seen anything concrete yet regarding this rhetoric,” Assad said in an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix. “We have hopes that this administration in the United States is going to implement what we have heard.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. ISIS militants have carried out similar attacks before against Shiite shrines in the Syrian capital and elsewhere.
The Washington Post was first to report on the deployment, which signals U.S. military escalation in the war against ISIS. Hundreds of U.S. Special Operations advisers have for months provided strategic support to rebels in the area, but Pentagon officials have generally avoided sending in conventional troops.