According to local sources, the SDF, the Syrian regime, or the Syrian National Army targeted the city of Al-Bab with missiles and artillery, hitting a number of neighbourhoods in the city, located in the northeast of Aleppo, Syria, on February 2nd 2022. Five to ten civilians were reported killed and at least ten and up to 32 others were reported to have been injured.
SANA was the only local news outlet to report that it was a “mutual bombardment between the Turkish occupation and its terrorists from one side, and militants of QSD from another side.” Despite multiple sources attributing the attack to the SDF, it denied responsibility for this attack and blamed the Turkish-backed Syrian National Army. Reportedly, a representative from the Syrian National Army blamed the Syrian regime. Therefore this event has been recognised as “contested” in our archive, with sources attributing it to multiple belligerents.
The reported death toll was varied too. For example, the Syrian Civil Defense updated a post which said that the number they believed to have been killed was eight, and the number of those who were wounded was 24. France 24 reported that only five of those killed were civilians. This differs from many other local sources which put the number higher, up to ten civilians.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that seven died and 29 were wounded, while the Qasioun news agency, an activist collective, said eight people were killed and more than 25 were wounded.
In a statement from the “Syrian Interim Government”, it put the number of those killed at nine and injured at 31. They reported that the missile strikes came from Al-Shaala radar and Al-Nairabiya area, under control of the Syrian regime and the PKK/PYD militia.
Local sources which had lower estimates were Hawar News Agency, affiliated with the Autonomous Administration of Northeast Syria, who put the death toll as six and those injured at 15. @HoranFreeMedia put the death toll as five and injured at ten.
@DeirEzzorNow reported that Muhammad Abd al-Rassaq al-Sheikh Issa, a male, was killed, who was from the city of al-Mayadin. Three others who were injured were displaed from Deir Ezzor, from Al-Bukamal, identified as Yasser Al-Aseel (who was apparently taken in an ambulance to Turkey), male; Azzam Al Jaleed, male; and Abdulaziz Al-Debs, also male.
Al Bab reported the numbers of their estimates, nine killed and 30 wounded and were able to identify some civilians’ names. The civilians killed were reported to be: Zakaria Ragab (M), Taha Debek (M), Mohamed Sheikh Issa (M) (mentioned above, different spelling), Ahmed Al-Ali and five others who are unidentified. 22 names were known to be injured: Azam Al Jaleed (M) (mentioned above, different spelling), Hamza Al-Obaid (M), Younis Al Jassim (M), Salim Al Salim (M), Abdul Aziz Al Debs (M) (mentioned above, different spelling), Ahmed Jaboli (M), Yahya Al Shaoui (M), Amal Alfrej (F), Heba Al-Mohammed (F), Ahmed Hazoury, Arif Bakour (M), Rama Nassany (F), Muhammad Abdul Razzaq (M), Omar Faris (M), Abdul Jalil Fatyan (M), Alaa Arafat (M), Khaled Nazir (M), Abdul Ghani Hamidi (M), Ahmed Khaled (M), Ahmed Ghazal (M), Adel Shalash (M), Yasser Al-Aseel, (M) (mentioned above, different spelling).
Both Syrian Observatory for Human Rights and the Syrian Civil Defense reported that four months after the incident, a little girl named “Islam” died from her wounds sustained in the attack. Volunteer “Alaa Al-Salloum”, who was one of the volunteers who helped her after the attack, said “Islam entered a coma since then, it was I have a great deal of hope that she will recover, go to her school, receive evacuation with her friends, but she went to her school only… She went and I can’t see her anymore.”
Due to the seriousness of injuries, the death toll was reported as expected to rise and many of the injured were taken to the city’s main hospital. Although @DeirEzzorNow first estimated five deaths, they later updated their post and reported that ten people were killed, so this is reflected in the alleged death toll in this assessment. Halab Today TV put out a call for the Al-Bab city hospital’s appeal to donate blood.
The missiles were reported to have fallen on commercial markets and residential areas near the city hospital,which were “crowded with civilians.” 7al News reported from a witness that most of the shelling was carried out around the Olive Branch Roundabout, Zamzam street, Al-Nofoutiya Market, and Al-Ra’i street.
Euphrates Post reported that there was a “state of panic and tension prevailing the city” and the correspondent also reported that the bombing came from SDF military points staioned in the “Radar al-Sha’ala” area, west of the city of Al-Bab.
Issam al-Rayes, a displaced person in the city of al-Bab, spoke to “Al-Hol Net” noting that “today’s bombing is one of the most violent attacks that the city has been subjected to during the past year.”
A Syrian Civil Defense volunteer talked about the emergency response, “there was a girl less than ten years old, her mother and sisters standing next to her, unable to do anything. I immediately carried her to the ambulance. She didn’t get better from her face or her injuries.”
The Syrian Democratic Forces denied responsibility for this attack, saying that their reported responsibility was “fabricated and repeated allegations without evidence.” According to Enab Baladdi, the SDF “”stressed that its military forces had nothing to do with the bombing or other similar incidents that were exposed to the areas of influence of the Turkish-backed “Syrian National Army,” north of Aleppo governorate.” According to 7al, a source in the Ankara-backed “National Army”, who preferred not to reveal his name, told “Al-Hol Net”, that “the bombing in particular was from the village of Shaala, west of the city of al-Bab, specifically from the section under the control of the “Syrian Army”, while the “National Army” factions responded by bombing the rocket launchers with several artillery shells.
According to Orient, Military sources in the area accused the SDF militia “PYD” of being behind the missile shelling on the city, especially that the massacre came hours after a Turkish air bombardment targeted SDF positions in the countryside of Hasaka near the Iraqi border and other locations in Iraq, and the Turkish bombing resulted in killing Dozens of militia members were wounded.
According to the Syrian Civil Defense, “the city of Al-Bab is one of the largest cities in the eastern countryside of Aleppo, and it has become a last resort for a large number of displaced people from various Syrian regions, especially after the waves of displacement caused by the attacks of the regime forces and Russia in 2018 and 2019.”
The incident occured in the afternoon.