At least one man was killed in an alleged US-led Coalition drone strike in al-Shanan village in eastern Deir Ezzor on May 4, 2021. While the majority of sources that reported on the incident claimed that the man killed was no longer part of any armed groups, a spokesman for the Coalition identified him as an ISIS operative.
According to Deir Ezzor 24 Network’s correspondent, “a person was killed when a drone believed to belong to the international coalition targeted his car in al-Shanan” and “the targeted car belonged to a former Free Army fighter who worked before his death as a gas official of the Syrian Democratic Forces.”
Euphrates Post identified the man killed as Bassem Atwan Al-Bilal and pointed out that his car was struck “near the Al-Balhawi Mosque in the village of Shannan.” They added that following the strike, “the Qasd imposed a cordon on the town”.
A spokesperson for the Coalition tweeted “.@CJTFOIR conducted an air strike removing a Daesh terrorist from the battlefield near Dayr az Zawr, Syria today. @Coalition and our partners will continue our mission to #defeatdaesh, disrupt their resources and eliminate Daesh remnants.”
However, in a civilian casualty assessment released July 9th 2021, the Coalition classed this event as ‘non credible’, claiming that “After a review of all available records it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.”
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights identified the man killed as being a civilian and Jesr Press reported that “at the present time he does not belong to any military organization, and he is married and has 8 children and two wives.” More details were given by Watan FM that the man killed “has defected from the Assad forces since 2012, and has not yet joined any military faction, and he is currently working as a gas delegate to the Autonomous Administration, and he has 4 brothers who volunteer with the Syrian Democratic Forces, one of whom is a leader called (Rayan Al-Shanan)”.
Eye of Euphrates reported that Al-Atwan was killed “while he was going to work in the harragas in Al-Hawi area near the oil burners” and spoke with a relative of the young man, who reiterated that “Al-Atwan has nothing to do with military matters, and that he works in the field of refining oil through primitive burners.”
Baladi News pointed out that “it is likely that the car he was traveling in was previously monitored, knowing that Al-Atwan bought it recently” which could explain why he was hit.
However, the North Press Agency Syria reported that the man was “said to be affiliated with the Islamic State” and added that he was killed after leaving a mosque.
The airstrike was carried out by an MQ-9 Reaper drone, according to @N0tWoofers. All of the sources that reported on the strike attributed it to Coalition drones or did not identify who was responsible, in addition to the Coalition spokesman verifying that its forces had carried out a strike in the area.
The incident occured in the evening.
- Bassem Atwan Al-Bilal 30 years old male Status as non combatant disputed by some sources killed
Sources (21) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a vehicle being struck in the village of Al Shanan (الشنان). Analyzing visual material from sources, we have narrowed down the location to these exact coordinates: 34.976104, 40.576696.
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Jul 9, 2021
May 4, 2021, near Deir Ezzor, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available records it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties. 3296/CS1958 37SFV002107
Original strike reports
.@CJTFOIR conducted an air strike removing a Daesh terrorist from the battlefield near Dayr az Zawr, Syria today.
@Coalition and our partners will continue our mission to #defeatdaesh, disrupt their resources and eliminate Daesh remnants.
- From @OIRSpox