This report originally published at defense.gov.
A U.S.-led coalition airstrike leveled a Syrian mosque today among other buildings used by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to attack the Syrian Democratic Forces, Army Col. Rob Manning, the Pentagon’s director of press operations, told Pentagon reporters today.
While mosques are generally among those buildings that have protected status from targeting in wartime, Manning explained that this mosque lost its protected status when ISIS “deliberately” chose it as a command-and-control center.
“This is the second attack in a week where ISIS’ misuse of a mosque violates the law of land warfare and made those mosques military targets,” he said.
“Our in-depth monitoring of ISIS … made us aware when only ISIS fighters would be present. We conduct inquiries into all credible allegations of civilian casualties,” Manning said of the airstrike.
“We’re going to keep the pressure up on ISIS as we eliminate their physical caliphate,” the colonel said.
“[ISIS is] nasty [and] brutal, and they certainly have no problem at all putting civilians at risk and jeopardizing the status of protected targets under the law of land warfare,” he added.
U.S. Navy In Taiwan Strait
Also today, two Navy warships transited the Taiwan Strait, the body of water between Taiwan and mainland China, Manning said.
The guided missile destroyer USS Curtis Wilbur and the guided missile cruiser USS Antietam conducted a routine transit of the strait in accordance with international law, Manning said.
“The ships’ transit through the Taiwan Strait demonstrates the U.S. commitment to a free and open Indo-Pacific,” he said, noting the Defense Department will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law permits.
“I’m confident the Navy made all the appropriate coordination as they transited through international waters, which happen to be between Taiwan and mainland China,” he said.
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