DAMASCUS (Dispatches) -- At least 42 Syrian civilians lost their lives Thursday night when U.S. warplanes bombed a mosque full of worshipers overnight in a village west of Aleppo.
More than 100 people were also wounded in the air raid on the village of al-Jineh, just over 30 km west of Aleppo, the so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said on Friday.
The head of the London-based observatory Rami Abdel Rahman said the raids targeted the mosque during evening prayers.
The U.S. military confirmed that it had carried out a deadly airstrike in northern Syria and would investigate reports that civilians were killed when a mosque was struck in the raid.
The observatory said many people were trapped under the collapsed mosque as rescue workers struggled to pull survivors from rubble, and dozens of residents were unaccounted for.
Jineh is in the western Aleppo countryside, which along with Idlib is home to hundreds of thousands of Syrians displaced by fighting in other areas.
Abu Muhammad, a village resident, told AFP he heard powerful explosions when the mosque was hit. "It was right after the prayer at a time where there are usually religious lessons for men in it,” he said.
"I saw 15 bodies and lots of body parts in the debris when I arrived. We couldn’t even recognize some of the bodies,” he added.
The U.S.-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes against what are said to be Daesh terrorists inside Syria since September 2014 without any authorization from the Damascus government or a UN mandate. It has also been involved in a similar campaign in neighboring Iraq.
The U.S. and its allies have on many occasions attacked Syrian civilians, military and infrastructure under the guise of fighting the terror group.
The latest U.S. air raid came just after Syria contacted the United Nations to warn against an imminent disaster in the wake of air raids by the U.S. and its allies close to the Euphrates and Tishrin dams.
Damascus urged UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres to help stop the attacks.
"The total destruction of these dams that are being targeted by the airstrikes will wash away and flood cities, towns and villages, endangering the lives of hundreds of thousands of people living in those areas,” Syria's Deputy UN Ambassador Mounzer Mounzer said in a letter to Guterres.
Washington has currently between 800 and 900 Special Operations troops in Syria. A Pentagon official told AFP on Wednesday that the United States was set to deploy about 1,000 additional troops to the northern parts of the country.
In an interview with Chinese TV station Phoenix, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad called U.S. troops in Syria invaders because under international law, foreign governments cannot deploy troops to sovereign countries.
"Any foreign troops coming to Syria without our invitation... are invaders,” said the Syrian leader.
The bloody U.S. attack came in the midst of a countrywide ceasefire in Syria in parallel with a diplomatic process aimed at ending the crisis in the Arab state.