Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USSOM368

Incident date

January 25, 2023

Location

Almiskad mountains, Bari, Somalia

Airwars assessment

An ISIS leader and 10 of his associates were killed by a declared US counterterrorism operation in the Almiskad mountains of Bari region, Somalia on January 25, 2023. One US service member was injured during the operation when a dog bit him.

AFRICOM initially released a statement that “the U.S. military conducted a successful counterterrorism operation in Somalia.” The statement only included the assessment that no civilians were injured or killed, adding that “additional details will be provided in the coming days.”

The next day, the Department of Defense released a statement from Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III that “On January 25, on orders from the President, the U.S. military conducted an assault operation in northern Somalia that resulted in the death of a number of ISIS members, including Bilal-al-Sudani, an ISIS leader in Somalia and a key facilitator for ISIS’s global network. Al-Sudani was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan. This action leaves the United States and its partners safer and more secure, and it reflects our steadfast commitment to protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism at home and abroad. No civilians were harmed as a result of this operation.”

During a Q&A with two senior administration officials, one official provided details that the operation took place in a mountainous cave complex in northern Somalia and resulted in the killing of 10 ISIS associates in addition to al-Sudani. According to the official, American forces were prepared to capture al-Sudani but “the hostile forces’ response to the operation resulted in his death”. The operation had been planned for months, including extensive rehearsals at sites “specifically built to recreate the terrain where the operation ultimately needed to take place” but mentioned that the Somalia government was “notified” of the operation, indicating that they were not involved and that they may not have been forewarned. Somali government security adviser Hussein Sheikh Ali stated that the death of al-Sudani was “very positive and welcoming,” adding that Islamic State was not as big a threat as al-Shabab in Somalia, but that al-Sudani was “dangerous”.

The same official reiterated that there were no injuries among civilians and that the only injury was to a US service member who was bit by their own canine. A reporter later pointed out that this senior official was the Homeland Security Advisor, questioning whether the operation target was a direct threat to the US homeland.

Another senior administration official described al-Sudani as supporting ISIS’s expansion and activities in Africa and beyond, including providing funding to ISIS around the world, specifically the ISIS Khorasan branch in Afghanistan. al-Sudani had been designated by the U.S. Treasury Department in 2012 for his role in al-Shabaab before joining ISIS. Security researcher Dino Mahtani told BBC that al-Sudani was “an important figure in the attempt by this faction of Islamic State to build a trans-national network straddling Central Africa and East Africa and now with links down to Mozambique” and that his groups were also involved in weapon-smuggling. Analysts told BBC that the fact that US troops were sent rather than a less risky drone strike indicates the importance of al-Sudani.

All Africa News reported that “airstrikes” had taken place in the Almiskad mountains, which is an area where ISIS affiliates have training and hideout camps. This was likely reported prior to the US announcing their involvement. US officials declined to provide details on the service members that were involved in the raid. However, the New York Times reported that US Special Operations commandos carried out the operation, pointing out that the US troops stationed in Somalia were only there to provide training to Somali forces.

BBC pointed out that the raid came just a week after ISIS published a rare propaganda video from Somalia showing footage of clashing with Somali government forces in the mountainous radian in north-eastern Bari, the same area the raid took place.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    11
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US Forces

Statement by Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III
On January 25, on orders from the President, the U.S. military conducted an assault operation in northern Somalia that resulted in the death of a number of ISIS members, including Bilal-al-Sudani, an ISIS leader in Somalia and a key facilitator for ISIS’s global network. Al-Sudani was responsible for fostering the growing presence of ISIS in Africa and for funding the group’s operations worldwide, including in Afghanistan. This action leaves the United States and its partners safer and more secure, and it reflects our steadfast commitment to protecting Americans from the threat of terrorism at home and abroad. No civilians were harmed as a result of this operation. We are grateful to our extraordinary service members as well as our intelligence community and other interagency partners for their support to this successful counterterrorism operation.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    No
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    11
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (16) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI090

Incident date

January 13, 2023

Location

قرية خليفان, Khalifan village, Erbil, Iraq

Airwars assessment

Two children were injured when Turkish forces allegedly shot them in the village of Khalifan on January 13, 2022.

Alyaum TV reported that two children were injured while grazing cattle in the “Khalifan” area of the “Sidkan” district when Turkish forces shot them. Hawar News (quoting Roj News Agency) added that the children were shot with live bullets and Ronahi TV added that the children were taken to the hospital.

Kurdistan24 provided the names of the children as Lazim Murad Hamadamin and Bahzad Awdi Yusif, referring to them as “shepherds.” Ehsan Chalabi, Mayor of Sidekan, told Kurdistan24 that the two injured civilians were in stable condition.

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

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Strike target
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • 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]

  • Image of two children injured when Turkish forces allegedly shot them in Khalifan village on January 13, 2022. (Image posted by Hawar News)
  • Two children being treated for their injuries after Turkish forces shot them on January 13, 2022. (Image posted by Kurdistan24)

Turkish Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Strike target
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • 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

YS162

Incident date

January 1, 2023

Location

حزوان, Hazwan, Aleppo, Syria

Airwars assessment

Civilians, including children, were injured by alleged Syrian Democratic Forces shelling or heavy machine guns on the village of Hazwan on January 1, 2023. One local source also reported there were “deaths” including among children.

Nabd News reported that civilians, including children, were wounded when the SDF carried out shelling of civilian homes in the village of Hazwan. @Sharqya_reporte also referred to “several children” as being injured. None of the local sources provided an exact casualty count.

Euphrates Post was the only source that referred to “dead, including children” from the shelling.

All of the sources that reported on the incident attributed the injuries to the SDF. Sources including Euphrates Post reported that the SDF carried out heavy artillery while @Rian_almasri referenced “heavy machine guns” as being responsible for the casualties.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1–2 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • #Urgent | Civilians, including children, were wounded as a result of the SDF militia targeting civilian homes in the village of Hazwan in the countryside of the city of Al-Bab, east of Aleppo (post by @alsoritoday)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child injured by an alleged SDF attack on Hazwan on January 1, 2023. (Image posted by @Rian_almasri)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child injured by an alleged SDF attack on Hazwan on January 1, 2023. (Image posted by @aladdinaldiab)

YPG Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    YPG
  • YPG position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1–2 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS578

Incident date

December 15, 2022

Location

قرية بوبان, Boban village, West of Kobane, Syria

Airwars assessment

On December 15th 2022, two civilians – two brothers – were reportedly severely injured following live bullets shot by Turkish forces in Boban village (Boban Saghrir village), West of Kobane. Sources described Turkish forces’ firing as “indiscriminate”.

Fawaz Ossi, 31 years old was allegedly shot in the stomach while he was renovating his house. When his brother Farhad tried to help him, he had an accident and hit his head. The incident occurred at 5 am local time according to local sources. The two brothers were taken to Al-Amal Hospital, in Kobane city, for treatment. ANHA said that “according to preliminary information, their health condition is critical, and they have been admitted to intensive care after undergoing surgeries”.

The incident occured at approximately 5:00 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Fawaz Ossi 31 years old male injured
  • Farhad Ossi Age unknown male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Causes of injury / death
    Accidents related to conflict, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Fawaz Ossi was reportedly shot in the stomach by live bullets fired by Turkish forces on December 15th 2022 in Boban village. Photo: ANHA عربية
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Fawaz Ossi reportedly shot in the stomach by live bullets fired by Turkish forces on December 15th 2022 in Boban village. Photo: كوباني مباشر_Kobanê live
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Fawaz Ossi, a Syrian civilian was reportedly shot in the stomach by live bullets fired by Turkish forces on December 15th 2022 in Boban village. His brother came to help and hurt his head in an accident. The source does not precise the identity of the person wounded here. Photo: يارسان روج Barsan Rouje

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Ground operation
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Causes of injury / death
    Accidents related to conflict, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1988

Incident date

November 22, 2022

Location

قرية الرز, Al-Zar Village, Deir Ezzour, Syria

Airwars assessment

A young man was either injured or killed during a raid allegedly carried out by the Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces in the village of al-Zar the evening/morning of November 22, 2022.

According to @euphratspost, a young man named Ahmed Hussein Ali al-Qubbah was severely injured and a 13 year old named Ahmad Mahmoud al-Hilu was arrest during a raid carried out by the SDF in the village of al-Zar around 2am.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that units affiliated with the SDF, with the support of “International Coalition” aircraft, carried out a raid and arrested a person alleged to be a member of ISIS. At the time of reporting, SOHR did not have information on human losses or material damage.

Nedaa Post referred to the raid as being carried out against “a number of civilian homes” and added that armed clashes between the people in the homes and the SDF resulted in the injury of the young man Ahmed Hussein Ali al-Qubbah when he tried to leave his house.

Baladi News reported that Ahmed Hussein was killed during the raid and Chamtimes referred to the person killed as being a civilian, indicating that Ahmed later died from his injuries. @DeirEzzore identified Ahmed Hussein as being 37 years old and added that he was wounded by a bullet that penetrated his back, paralyzing him.

The incident occured at approximately 2:00 am local time.

  • hmed Hussein Ali al-Qubbah 37 years old male Possibly killed injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • The young man, "Ahmed Hussein Ali al-Qubba," who was injured or killed by alleged Coalition and SDF raids on November 22, 2022. (Image posted by @DeirEzzore)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1986

Incident date

November 3, 2022

Location

رويشد, Ruwaished, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.723299, 40.449240 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A young man was killed during an airdrop operation allegedly carried out by the Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces in the village of Al Ruwaished on November 3, 2022.

Euphrates Post reported that a young man named Muhannad Ibrahim al-Khalaf was killed during a raid carried out by the SDF at dawn in the village of Al Ruwaished.

According to Naher Media, Muhammad left the SDF after receiving a threat from ISIS several months ago. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the SDF were raiding the house of someone accused of theft and rape, and an armed clash took place resulting in the death of a young man and arrest of two others.

All of the sources that reported on the incident attributed the operation to the SDF and Coalition forces, with Naher Media specifically pointing out that the military forces that carried out the raid came from the city of Al-Shaddadi in the Hasaka countryside with support from Coalition helicopters.

The incident occured around dawn.

  • Muhannad Ibrahim al-Khalaf Adult male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Ruwaished (رويشد), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.723299, 40.449240. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1985

Incident date

October 28, 2022

Location

ذيبان, Thiban, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.00502, 40.513045 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A woman was killed and two others, including a minor, were injured in an alleged airdrop operation carried out by the Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Hawija neighborhood of Thiban town, east of Deir Ezzor, on October 28, 2022.

Nahr Media reported that a woman named Nadia Mustafa al-Ali was killed and two other people were injured when an SDF patrol raided the homes of the “Al-Askar” family in the Hawija neighborhood of Thiban town to arrest someone connected to smuggling operations. Clashes broke out between the SDF and the people of the houses, resulting in the casualties. According to Orient News, a minor was among those injured and the SDF arrested a number of people, taking them to al-Omar field base.

Local sources from Deir Ezzor governorate told Alaraby News that ““a woman was killed on Thursday/Friday night, and two other people were injured of varying degrees, in addition to the arrest of several people following a raid carried out by the SDF with the support of US helicopters of the coalition forces,” adding that this was an operation carried out by the SDF and the US Coalition.

@DeirEzzore added that the clashes were between the SDF/Coalition forces and people who smuggle oil cross the Euphrates River.

Orient News pointed out that this operation was part of an increase of operations carried out by the Coalition and SDF, with the majority of them occurring in Deir Ezzor

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Nadia Mustafa al-Ali Adult female killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Al Hawija (الحويجة) neighbourhood, reportedly within the town of Thiban (ذيبان), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.00502, 40.513045. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1983

Incident date

September 20, 2022

Location

قرية البيدر, Al Baydar in Al Karama village, Raqqa, Syria

Geolocation

35.859327, 39.310004 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Two civilians, a man and his minor son, were killed and another man, who is alleged to be a civilian or a member of ISIS, was injured during an airdrop operation carried out by the Coalition and the SDF in the village of Al Baydar on September 20, 2022.

According to the Euphrates Post, Muhammad Al-Shalash and his son Abadi Al-Shalash were killed during a raid carried out by the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) along with the Coalition in the village of Al Baydar.

Eye of Euphrates added that the father and son were shot when the American forces and the SDF were trying to arrest a displaced person from the countryside of Aleppo and residing in the village who had fled to the home of the Al-Shalash family and was firing at the raiding forces. The correspondent added that a third civilian was wounded by a bullet and taken to the hospital and that the intended person was arrested during the raid.

@AlkneterOthman tweeted that the wounded person is the other son of Muhammad and Baladi News provided the name of the wounded son as Muhammad Al-Shalash, detailing that he was taken to Raqqa hospital for treatment of his injuries. According to Nedaa Post, the wounded son Muhammad was the intended person to be arrested and was arrested on charges of “working in the ranks of ISIS cells in the area”. The three men had only been in the area for ten days and were displaced from a village in northern Aleppo.

Shaam News disputed that the injured person was a member of ISIS, referring to him as a civilian, and reporting that the SDF “raided the house because it received information about the names of wanted persons, who are relatives of the owner of the house that they raided, but instead of raiding the house of the wanted persons, they mistakenly raided another house.”

@DeirEzzore identified Abadi, the son that was killed, as being a minor, and reported that the raid occurred at approximately 3:30 in the morning. @DeirEzzore added that the father and son were from “the Al-Bureij clan – Al-Aliat”.

All of the sources referred to the incident as a joint operation between the SDF and Coalition, with some sources blaming the shooting on the SDF while others attributed the shooting to the Coalition.

The incident occured at approximately 3:30 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Strike target
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–1

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Al Baydar (البيدر), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.859327, 39.310004. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Strike target
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–1

Sources (12) [ collapse]