US-led coalition says it struck Syrian mosque used by ISIS

The U.S. military announced Tuesday that it struck a mosque in Syria that was used as an ISIS command and control center.

Coalition warplanes struck the mosque in Baghouz, Syria on Monday with assistance from the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces, it added.

“This mosque lost its protected status when ISIS deliberately chose to use it as a command and control center,” the coalition’s deputy commander, Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, said in a statement.

ADVERTISEMENT

According to The Associated Press, hundreds of foreign Islamic State fighters are believed to be in the Baghouz area.

Capturing the area would reportedly mark a significant victory in U.S. efforts to end ISIS's territorial control.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFacebook releases audit on conservative bias claims Harry Reid: 'Decriminalizing border crossings is not something that should be at the top of the list' Recessions happen when presidents overlook key problems MORE announced in December that he would withdraw all U.S. troops from Syria because ISIS was practically defeated.

Experts and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, however, argued that a rapid withdrawal could destabilize the region and strengthen ISIS.

Those fears were elevated by James MattisJames Norman MattisOnly Donald Trump has a policy for Afghanistan New Pentagon report blames Trump troop withdrawal for ISIS surge in Iraq and Syria Mattis returns to board of General Dynamics MORE’s resignation as Defense secretary, a move precipitated by Trump’s decision to withdraw.

Top U.S. intelligence officials warned the Senate last month of the potential for an ISIS resurgence without sustained pressure, a view echoed by a recent Pentagon inspector general report.

The Senate sent legislation  to the House last Thursday asking that the Trump administration certify certain conditions have been met "for the enduring defeat of al Qaeda and ISIS before initiating any significant withdrawal of United States forces from Syria or Afghanistan.”

Trump has defended his decision to draw down U.S. troops, arguing that “great nations do not fight endless wars.”