US authorities failed to take all feasible precautions to avoid civilian casualties in a recent attack on a Syrian mosque, a report from Human Rights Watch (HRW) states, adding that such measures are a requirement under the laws of war. The report, released Tuesday, notes that although US officials claimed the building targeted on March 16 was a partially-constructed community hall, “information from local residents, photographs, and video footage of the building before and after the attack” show that it was also a mosque.

It goes on to cite locals who said that dozens, if not hundreds, of people regularly gathered at the building at prayer times, and that “aerial surveillance of the building would have shown this.” “Any attempt to verify through people with local knowledge what kind of building this was would have likely established that the building was a mosque,” the report states. READ MORE