US-led coalition destroyed Syria mosque said to be IS command centre

US-led coalition destroyed Syria mosque said to be IS command centre
The US-led coalition statement said IS jihadis continue to use protected structures to launch attacks.
2 min read
16 December, 2018
Kurdish-led forces seized Hajin, a milestone in a massive and costly US-backed anti-IS operation [Getty]

US-led coalition forces destroyed an Islamic State group command centre inside a mosque in the Syrian border town of Hajin on Saturday, the US military said.

The statement comes as Kurdish-led forces mop up the final remnants of IS militants in Hajin, the largest settlement in what is the last pocket of territory controlled by the jihadists.

More than 16 "heavily armed" IS fighters were at the "command and control node" at the mosque when it was destroyed by a "precision strike", a statement from the Combined Joint Task Force read.

The militants, who were all killed in the strike, were using the mosque to "command attacks against Coalition partners," it claimed. 

The IS group "continues to use protected structures to launch attacks against our Coalition partners with complete disregard for the infrastructure and innocent human lives", the statement added.

Fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) secured Hajin after weeks of heavy fighting on Friday, the UK-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

The town is located in eastern Syria about 30 kilometres (18 miles) from the border with Iraq. 

The area is sometimes referred to as the "Hajin pocket", the last rump of a once-sprawling "caliphate" the group proclaimed in 2014 over swathes of Syria and Iraq.

On Saturday US-led coalition Colonel Sean Ryan said despite heavy defeats, IS still poses a threat and its fighters are regrouping, planting bombs to slow the progress of SDF offensives.

He added that the "end days" of IS in the enclave they hold near Iraq's border are getting closer, however, "they still have the capability for coordinated attacks, and the fight is not over".

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