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Up To 42 Reported Dead In Air Strike On Syrian Mosque

A U.K.-based watchdog and local paramedics are reporting that many worshippers have been killed and dozens injured in air strikes on a mosque in a rebel-held village in northern Syria.

Rami Abdel Rahman of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights on March 16 said the death toll was at least 42.

"The raids by unidentified warplanes targeted a mosque in Aleppo province during evening prayers, killing 42 people, most of them civilians," Rahman said.

He added that more than 100 people were injured, with many still trapped in the rubble of the collapsed mosque in the village of Al-Jineh, about 30 kilometers west of Aleppo.

First responders and local activists said at least 35 people were killed.

The mosque was full of worshippers at evening prayers when the jets struck, the observatory said.

Officials said the village is held by rebels fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

The observatory said it was unable at this point to determine whose planes carried out the raid.

In the past, the Syrian and Russian military have carried out air strikes in Idlib and Aleppo provinces during the six-year civil war.

Along with the Syrians and Russians, a U.S.-led coalition has warplanes operating separately in Syria.

An estimated 300,000 people have been killed and millions of others have been displaced since the Syrian civil war started in 2011 between government forces and rebels opposed to Assad.

The conflict was later joined by fighters from the Islamic State extremist group, which is opposed by both sides.

Turkey and the United States support the main opposition forces, while Russia and Iran back Assad's government.

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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