Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

TS569

Incident date

November 21, 2022

Location

الحمره , Al-Hamra neighborhood in the center of Tal Tamr district, Hasakeh, Syria

Airwars assessment

On November 21st, 2022, a civilian – a young man, was reportedly injured by a Turkish drone in Al-Hamra neighborhood in the center of Tal Tamr district. A local source added that the strike targeted a vehicle located nearby a Russian military base. However, SOHR claimed that the attack only caused material damage to a military vehicle.

The injured was described by Hawar News Agency (ANHA) and ANF as Abd al-Rahman Rashid Hassan, 17 years old. The young man was reportedly transfered to the Martyr Lêgerîn Hospital for treatment.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Abd al-Rahman Rashid Hassan 17 years old male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Published

November 25, 2022

Written by

Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen

Header Image

The signing ceremony for the Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA) on November 18th 2022 in Dublin Castle. Over 80 state delegations such as the UK (pictured) officially endorsed the declaration.

An overview of the actions needed

On Friday November 18th, states and civil society joined together in Dublin Castle to officially endorse the long-awaited international Political Declaration on the use of explosive weapons in populated areas (EWIPA). So far, 82 states have signed onto the declaration; this is a similar number to the initial signatories to other international declarations that have created new norms and standards in warfare, such as the Safe Schools Declaration. Among the signatories to the EWIPA declaration are states such as the US, UK, Netherlands, and Belgium, all of which made sizable contributions to the coalition against ISIS in Iraq and Syria that killed an estimated 8,194–13,249 civilians.

According to Action on Armed Violence, when EWIPAs are used, over 90% of those harmed are civilians. Airwars recently put together a series of maps showing the clear and troubling connection between population density in cities and civilian deaths during urban warfare. Even beyond those who are killed immediately, the reverberating effects are often severe and pervasive, with schools, hospitals, livelihoods, and basic resources like food and water becoming inaccessible for years. This has played out in recent conflicts in cities such as Mosul and Raqqa, in which entire city parts were destroyed and have been made uninhabitable.

The Irish-led, UN backed international declaration is a groundbreaking step towards curbing the use of such weapons. It comes at the back of a decade of civil society focus and pressure on this, led by the INEW network, which Airwars is a part of. As with any political declaration, the results are only as good as the implementation. Below, we outline some of the challenges states must address as they begin the process of implementing the EWIPA declaration.

States must be frank about gaps in their current approach

The first step in understanding how to implement the declaration to limit the use of EWIPAs must be for each state to critically examine current gaps in its own approach and engage in a meaningful process to address these. This in itself might be a stumbling block for some; while states such as the US and the Netherlands have shown increasing willingness to address gaps in their approach to the protection of civilians by working with civil society and experts, others have not.

The UK for instance, still falls behind allies in terms of transparency on evidence collection around civilian harm. Under the declaration, states committed to: “Collect, share, and make publicly available disaggregated data on the direct and indirect effects on civilians and civilian objects of military operations involving the use of explosive weapons in populated areas, where feasible and appropriate”. Despite the UK representative in Dublin noting during the signing ceremony that “the UK already has policies and procedures in place to support the implementation”, this has to date not been evident when it comes to public reporting on the effects of UK military actions.

As it stands, the UK maintains that it has evidence of only a single civilian casualty from its actions in the seven year anti-ISIS campaign, for example, despite extensive military involvement. The US, by comparison, has admitted to over 1,400 civilian casualties as part of the Coalition.  When challenged, UK officials tend to emphasise that they are aware that is not a case of lower civilian casualties than in previous conflicts – but of poor evidence gathering. This position was summarised by former Armed Forces Minister, Mark Lancaster, who emphasised in 2019 that; “[I]t is not our position that there has been only a single civilian casualty as a result of our military action. What we are saying is that we have evidence of only a single, or what we believe to have been a single, civilian casualty.”

In spite of this oft-repeated recognition that the evidence gathering mechanisms of the UK are not able to accurately reflect the reality on the ground, there is, to our knowledge, no process in place to improve this approach and little willingness to engage with civil society to address this. If this is not addressed, there will be a significant gap between the rhetoric of UK leadership when it comes to EWIPA and the reality on the ground.

States must build clarity on who is responsible for implementing the EWIPA declaration on a national level

The second step states must take to implement the EWIPA declaration is to gain better internal understandings of who will be involved in its implementation. This must include those focusing specifically on EWIPA, but also those focusing on topics such as human security, the protection of civilians, humanitarian response, development, diplomacy, and all the other elements required to protect those caught in conflict from being harmed by explosive weapons.The structures behind overseas military engagements are complex, quick changing, and lines of responsibility are often murky. Yet it is only if all involved in such operations, across parliament, ministries of defence, and ministries of foreign affairs and overseas development, are dedicated to limiting the use of EWIPA, understanding their impact, and tracking civilian harm that occurs if they are used, that implementation will be effective.

States must be open to civil society inclusion in the implementation of the EWIPA declaration 

Civil society actors, many of us united under the INEW banner, played a significant role in the development of the EWIPA declaration and the advocacy that brought states to the process, a fact that was acknowledged by a large number of states at the conference in Dublin. We stand ready to support the implementation in national contexts and across international coalitions. Many civil society organisations have spent years – sometimes decades – developing protection mechanisms and civilian harm tracking mechanisms, as well as conducting research into valuable lessons on the impact of EWIPA. Civil society organisations are also often direct links to the communities affected. It is in all of our interests that these resources are effectively shared with those in power.

In those states where there is a history of poor transparency and accountability on civilian harm and civilian harm tracking, governments and their militaries must also commit to a certain level of transparency on the implementation of the EWIPA declaration. They should work with civil society actors to understand the gaps in their current approach and set up milestones for implementation.

Looking forward

The endorsing ceremony was a promising step towards recognising the immense harm that these weapons have caused in recent years – and the harm they will continue to cause as their impact reverberates through communities. If the declaration is implemented well, fewer civilians will be harmed by explosive weapons in their cities, towns, and camps.

Yet there are pitfalls each state must avoid if their implementation of the declaration is to be meaningful. They must be frank about current gaps in their system and must be willing to address them. They must gain an oversight of everyone who will play a role in the effective implementation of EWIPA. And they should work with civil society actors who have resources to share and stand ready to support implementation.

Additional resources:

    Implementation Brief: Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas, CIVIC, November 2022 (here) Safeguarding Civilians: A Humanitarian Interpretation of the Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas, Human Rights watch and the International Human Rights Clinic at Harvard Law school, October 2022 (here) Implementing the Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas: Key Areas and Implementing Actions, INEW and Article 36, November 2022 (here) Over 80 Countries Committed to Curb Use of Explosive Weapons, Now Comes the Hard Part, Bonnie Docherty, Human Rights Watch for Just Security, November 23rd 2022 (here)
▲ The signing ceremony for the Political Declaration on the Use of Explosive Weapons in Populated Areas (EWIPA) on November 18th 2022 in Dublin Castle. Over 80 state delegations such as the UK (pictured) officially endorsed the declaration.

Incident Code

TS573

Incident date

November 23, 2022

Location

قرية الزيدية, Al-Zaydiyah, Al Hasaka, Syria

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were injured by alleged Turkish drone strikes on the village of Al-Zaydiyah on November 23, 2022.

ANF reported that two people were injured by an explosive-laden drone strike on the village of Al-Zaydiyah in Darbasiyah district. ANF added that at the time there was no information on the condition of those injured.

A Facebook post by Evin Shexmous published a similar casualty toll of two civilian injured by a Turkish drone.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS572

Incident date

November 23, 2022

Location

قرية المصرف, village of Masraf, Al Hasaka, Syria

Airwars assessment

Three civilians were injured by alleged Turkish airstrikes that struck a civilian car in the village of Masraf on November 23, 2022.

ANF reported that three people were injured when Turkish forces bombed a civilian car in the village of Masraf. The injured civilians were transferred to Qamishli Hospital for treatment.

Both Hawar News and Dijla posted on Facebook a similar casualty count of three civilian injured.

All three sources that reported on the incident attributed the bombing to Turkish forces.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Car damaged by alleged Turkish airstrikes in the village of Masraf on November 23, 2022. (Image posted by Hawar News)

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS571

Incident date

November 23, 2022

Location

قرية علي اغا, village of Ali Agha, Al Hasaka, Syria

Airwars assessment

Three civilians were injured by alleged Turkish airstrikes on the village of Ali Agha on November 23, 2022.

ANF reported that three people were wounded by Turkish bombardment of the village of Ali Agha in Tal Koçer. Two of the wounded were taken to Derik Hospital, while the other, who suffered a serious injury, was transferred to Qamishli Hospital.

A Facebook post by Metin Bekes reported that civilians were injured and identified four raids as being carried out by Turkish forces against the village of Ali Agha.

Alyaum TV and Metin Bekes both posted on Facebook that casualties resulted from Turkish strikes without specifying how many.

All of the sources that reported on the incident attributed the strikes to Turkey.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Alleged Turkish bombardment of the village of Ali Agha on November 23, 2022. (Image posted by Ciwan Ibrahîm via Facebook)
  • Alleged Turkish bombardment of the village of Ali Agha on November 23, 2022. (Image posted by دجلة - الجزيرة السورية via Facebook)

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS569

Incident date

November 21, 2022

Location

الحمره, Al-Hamra neighborhood in the center of Tal Tamr district, Tal Tamr, Syria

Airwars assessment

One young man, Abd al-Rahman Rashid Hassan, aged 17, was injured in a reported Turkish bombardment from a drone which hit the neighbourhood of Al-Hamra, in the centre of Tal Tamr district, Syria, on November 21st 2022.

ANHA and other local sources reported that the Turkish drone targeted a car or a military vehicle which was near a Russian forces base.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Abdul Rahman Rashid Hassan 17 years old male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS568

Incident date

November 21, 2022

Location

بينة, Ibbin village, Sherawa district, Afrin, Aleppo, Syria

Airwars assessment

Two people were reported “slightly” injured and tens of sheep were reportedly killed by Turkish shelling in Ibbin village, Sherawa district in Afrin, Syria on November 21st 2022.

According to North Press Agency and ANHA between 20 to 35 sheep were killed which were owned by Walida Hamadi.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Strike target
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Up to 35 sheep were reportedly killed by a Turkish missile on a village in Afrin on November 21st 2022 (Image via ANHA English)

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Strike target
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS565

Incident date

November 20, 2022

Location

ميشنور, Meştenûr, Hassakah, Syria

Airwars assessment

Up to three civilians, including two journalists, were injured when Turkish forces bombed the outskirts of Meştenûr on November 20, 2022.

Hawar News reported that a correspondent for Sterk TV named Muhammad Jarada was injured when Turkish forces bombed the outskirts of Meştenûr. Turkish warplanes bombed Al-Jadida neighborhood, Kanya Kurdan neighborhood, and the village of Qramogh, in addition to Meştenûr hill.

Kobani News reported that a journalist for Ronahi TV was injured by a Turkish drone and that his health condition was almost stable (it is unclear if this is referring to the same journalist named Muhammad).

Farhad Shami, official of the Media Center of the Syrian Democratic Force, announced that three civilians were wounded in Kobani while @RojavaIC specified that two journalists were injured.

@RojavaIC identified a medical building, which was used as a coronavirus center during the peak of the pandemic, as being completely destroyed in the bombing near Kobani. The civilians were injured in a double tap strike on the site of the medical building, with the second strike occurring when journalists arrived to report on the bombing.

All of the sources that reported on the incident attributed the strikes to Turkish forces.

The incident occured in the morning.

  • Muhammad Jarada Age unknown male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Strike target
    Hospital
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • One of the civilians injured by alleged Turkish strikes near Kobane on November 20, 2022. (Image posted by Hawar News)
  • One of the civilians injured by alleged Turkish strikes near Kobane on November 20, 2022. (Image posted by Kobani News via Facebook)
  • One of the civilians injured by alleged Turkish strikes near Kobane on November 20, 2022. (Image posted by Kobani News via Facebook)
  • One of the civilians injured by alleged Turkish strikes near Kobane on November 20, 2022. (Image posted by Dijla via Facebook)
  • alleged Turkish strikes near Kobane on November 20, 2022. (Image posted by Rojava Information Center)
  • alleged Turkish strikes near Kobane on November 20, 2022. (Image posted by Rojava Information Center)

Turkish Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Military
  • Turkish Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Strike target
    Hospital
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Military

Sources (7) [ collapse]