The Central Command has confirmed that U.S. forces carried out an airstrike on a meeting of al-Qaeda in Idlib, Syria, on March 16 and, a large number of the militants were eliminated. It is labeled as a precision strike and it left behind two crater. In recent years, Idlib is believed to have become a safe haven for the militant outfit, hence preventive action was taken by the U.S. military.

New York Times reports that Syrian activists mentioned about bombing of a mosque and loss of civilian lives. However, Col. John J. Thomas, a spokesman for the United States Central Command, has refuted the allegations and asserted that the American aircraft had struck a nearby building, but not the mosque.

Col. John J. Thomas is responsible for American military missions in the Middle East and he has categorically stated that the intended target was destroyed and the mosque, which is within 50 feet of that building, is intact.

The fallout of the airstrike

A local activist says that victims of the airstrike did not have links with any military faction or political side. In his words, the casualty figures were high with nearly 50 dead and an equal number wounded – rescuers were trying to locate bodies lying under the rubble.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, on its part, says that 42 people were killed in the airstrike that happened in Al Jinah, a village between the cities of Idlib and Aleppo in Syria.

SOHR has added that most of the dead were civilians, and the attack was a “massacre.”

When will this madness end?

When such incidents occur, local activists grab their cameras to click and post photos on Twitter and other websites. In this case, photos of fragments of an American-made Hellfire missile are seen but, it is not possible to verify the authenticity of the images.

The airstrike had struck a legitimate target and believes that al-Qaeda militants were killed. However, in view of conflicting statements, Colonel Thomas has indicated that the matter would be investigated. The objective of the investigation would be to ascertain if innocent civilians had, indeed, been killed or injured.

The unrest in Syria has been going on for years and has led to humanitarian issues that are gradually spiraling out of control. It is high time that world leaders find a solution to this crisis.