US-led coalition destroys Syrian mosque used as ISIS command centre

Smoke billows after bombings in the Deir Ezzor province, near Hajin, eastern Syria, on Dec 15, 2018. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have battled to eliminate the militants in Hajin for several months.
Smoke billows after bombings in the Deir Ezzor province, near Hajin, eastern Syria, on Dec 15, 2018. The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have battled to eliminate the militants in Hajin for several months.PHOTO: AFP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - The United States-led coalition in Syria destroyed on Saturday (Dec 15) a mosque in the town of Hajin which had been used as an ISIS command and control centre, the US military said.

Hajin is the last big town that the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group holds in its remaining enclave east of the Euphrates River.

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, spearheaded by the Kurdish militia, have battled to eliminate the militants there for several months.

The US coalition said that 16 heavily armed ISIS fighters were using the mosque as a base to attack.

"This strike killed these terrorists who presented an imminent threat, and eliminated another deadly ISIS operational capability from the battlefield," the US military said in a statement.

Mr Lilwa al-Abdallah, spokesman for the offensive in eastern Deir al-Zor province, said on Friday that the coalition would soon re-take Hajin.

ISIS lost nearly all the territory it once held in Syria last year in separate offensives by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces on the one hand, and the Russian-backed Syrian army on the other.