On Thursday, a US airstrike tore through the mosque in the village of al-Jineh, in Syria’s Aleppo Province, killing at least 49 civilians. US military officials denied responsibility, though images showing parts of US-made bombs at the site gave considerable credence to their culpability.
Central Command today confirmed that they are finally launching two investigations related to the attack, one of which seeks to determine whether the building they bombed was actually a mosque, and the other questioning whether the evidence of civilian deaths was “credible.”
Of course, there is ample photographic evidence that the mosque was bombed, and with some 300 civilians reportedly inside the mosque at the time of the attack, it is difficult to see how Centcom is going to wrangle their way around this being “credible” evidence of civilian deaths.
Throughout the ISIS war, however, Centcom has largely dismissed such reports of large civilian death tolls in their airstrikes as non-credible, which is why the “official” US figure on civilian deaths is less than 10% the estimate from reputable NGOs.
This has been true even in past incidents that were well documented, and while it will likely be months before the official reports get around to attacks carried out in March, there is a very good chance the incident will never show up in the reports.