Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

TI056

Incident date

February 10–14, 2021

Location

جبل غارا/ قارا, Gara Mountain, Dohuk, Iraq

Airwars assessment

Thirteen Turkish nationals being held captive by the PKK in a location close to village Siyane in the Gare/Gara region in northern Iraq were killed – either during an alleged Turkish airstrike, or executed by the PKK, according to conflicting Kurdish and Turkish sources.

There was however broad agreement that some of those killed were civilians. All of the victims, as detainees, were non combatants. The date of the incident is unclear. Reports of killing the prisoners surfaced on February 14th but the Turkish operation on Gara started on February 10th.

According to Turkish Minute, the bodies of 13 Turkish hostages were found in the Gara region following the launch of Turkish operations there on February 10th. The source said “On Sunday the pro-Kurdish party expressed “deep sadness” over the deaths of the 13 Turks in Iraq, calling on the PKK to free its remaining prisoners.”

Stripes.come said that they Turkish operation was launched to free the Turkish prisoners. “The bodies of the 13 victims were discovered in a cave complex in northern Iraq’s Gara region, near the Turkish border, during an operation against the PKK, launched on Feb. 10, that had aimed to free the hostages.”

Haber Turk reported that the bodies of the thirteen killed Prisoners of War (PoWs) were taken to Malatya for autopsy. Twelve out of 13 were identified as: Expert Sergeant Hüseyin Sarı; the civilian police commander Sedat Yabalak; Gendarmerie Petty Officer Semih Özbek; Police Officer Vedat Kaya; Jandirma Private Süleyman Sungur; Specialist Private Mevlit Kahveci; Gunner Private Müslüm Altıntaş; Private Adil Kabaklı; Aydın Köse; and Umit Gicir, The civilian was Muhammet Salih Kanca, and the contracted soldier Sedat Sorgun.

The source published the following details about nine of the victims:

  • Sedat Yabalak, a civilian police officer and father of three in charge of Şanlıurfa Police Department in Turkey was abducted by the PKK on July 28th 2015 on the Lice-Diyarbakır highway, in front of his wife Burcu Yabalak and their three children, while returning from Erzurum.
  • Private Adil Kabaklı, during his military service, was abducted on the Tunceli Pülümür highway in Turkey while returning to his unit in Ağrı on October 2, 2015.
  • Expert Sergeant Mevlüt Kahveci, aged 31 and referred to as a specialized Gendarmerie Sergeant, was kidnapped by the PKK at a roadblock near Doğanlıköyü in Hakkari’s Çukurca district in Turkey in September 2016.
  • Air Defense Specialist Sergeant Hüseyin Sarı’s, aged 32, was kidnapped by the PKK on the Diyarbakır-Bingöl Highway in Turkey on August13th 2015.
  • Vedat Kaya was a civilian police officer in Istanbul. He and his wife were kidnapped in 2016 by the PKK at a roadblock in the Lice district of Diyarbakır in Turkey while he was returning to his hometown for his brother’s wedding convoy
  • Aydın Köse: No details about the date he was kidnapped by Haber Turk. Mürvet Karakoç mentioned that he is registered of the population of Adıyaman. He was referred to as a civilian by sources including Muhsin.guler.
  • Staff Petty Officer Sergeant Major Semih Özbey was detained by the PKK on the Tunceli-Erzincan highway in Turkey on September 18th 2015.
  • Süleyman Sungur, while doing his military service, was abducted by the PKK from a bus on the Lice road to his hometown Siirt in Turkey in 2015.
  • Private Sedat Sorgun, who was serving as a military officer in Van, was kidnapped by the PKK at a roadblock near Diyarbakır Lice in 2015.

@Kche_shakh tweeted “13 Turkish civilians were killed on the Gara mountains the highest mountains range in southern Kurdistan. Wondering what the Turkish civilians were doing there?”.

The list included the ten names identified by the Turkish Ministry of Defense twitter account as the killed prisoners of war, in addition to three additional names of belligerents likely killed while participating in the Turkish military operation. They are Ertug Guler, Burak Coscun and Harun Turhan. The Turkish minister of defence said that three soldiers were killed during the operation and three others were wounded.

Held captive for many years by the PKK in Kurdistan, their plight was raised by MPs many times back in Turkey, calling for their release. Turkey and the PKK are now accusing each other of responsibility for the killing of the 13 captive Turkish nationals:

Turkey launched its Eagle Claw 2 operation on the Gare region of northern Iraq on February 10th, where the 13 hostages were being held in a cave there.

A statement later issued by the PKK gave the group’s side of the story. They accused Turkey of killing the prisoners during an operation that had begun on February 10th. “A camp where prisoners of war belonging to the Turkish security forces were held has been attacked in Gare. The camp was intensively bombed from the air at five o’clock [not clear if this is am or pm] on February 10th. This was followed by a ground attack in which every form of war technology was used. In order to protect themselves and the prisoners, our forces located in the camp under bombardment gave the necessary response to the occupiers and hit them effectively.”

The PKK statement continued: “After this strike, the occupying Turkish army retreated a bit. Although it knew that there were prisoners there, the camp was again intensively bombed by fighter jets. The bombardment, which lasted for three days, and the fierce battles inside and outside the camp resulted in the death of some of the MIT members, soldiers and policemen we had captured. That no one would survive such a fierce attack was clear to anyone with basic military knowledge. The attack was not aimed at liberating the prisoners of war, but at destroying them.”

Kurdistan Democratic Communities Union said that YPG also published videos showing the Turkish bombardment of the location where the POWs had been held on February 14th.

By contrast, Turkey accused the PKK of executing the prisoners. Stripes.com for example reported Turkish officials as saying that “Twelve of the victims were shot in the head and one died of a shoulder bullet wound.”

Turkey’s Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar made a statement on the Gara operation to the Turkish Grand National Assembly. He said that it wasn’t possible to target the area where the cave is located because of the geographical location and structure. “due to the location and the terrain, the mountain ranges and the difficulty of reaching here, the operation has not been carried out in Gara.”

The minister was also reported by TGRT Haber TV as saying that “in the attack and in response to the shooting and the grenades from inside the cave, we only used teargas bombs. ”

The deaths of 13 unarmed Turkish nationals caused uproar in Turkey. President Erdogan reportedly vowed to expand cross-border operations against the Kurdish group in northern Iraq. Erdogan was quoted as saying “that the killings have strengthened Turkey’s will to form a secure zone along its border in northern Iraq to protect Turkey’s frontiers from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.”

The US State Department released a statement on February 14th condemning the deaths: “The United States deplores the death of Turkish citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. We stand with our NATO Ally Turkey and extend our condolences to the families of those lost in the recent fighting. If reports of the death of Turkish civilians at the hands of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization, are confirmed, we condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”

Anadolu Agency on Twitter said that “In call with Turkish FM, [US Secretary of State] Blinken affirmed US ‘view that PKK terrorists bear responsibility’ for Turkish civilians martyred in N.Iraq.” The Afghan government also condemned the incident, and blamed the PKK for the killing of the prisoners. And the Turkish Ministry of Defence tweeted that the UK’s Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace had “extended his condolences for the Turkish personnel and citizens that were martyred in Gara by the PKK terrorist organization.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Muhammet Salih Kanca 38 years old male killed
  • Hüseyin Sarı 32 years old male Expert Sergeant killed
  • Sedat Yabalak Age unknown male Police Officer killed
  • Semih Özbek Age unknown male Gendarmerie Petty Officer killed
  • Vedat Kaya 28 years old male Police Officer killed
  • Süleyman Sungur 27 years old male Jandirma Private killed
  • Mevlit Kahveci 31 years old male Specialist Private killed
  • Müslüm Altıntaş Age unknown male Gunner Private killed
  • Adil Kabaklı Age unknown male killed
  • Aydın Köse Age unknown male killed
  • Sedat Sorgun 35 years old male Contracted soldier killed
  • Umit Gicir 35 years old male specialized gendarmerie sergeant killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7 – 13
  • (7–13 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    Turkish Armed Forces, YPG forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3

Sources (34) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (26) [ collapse]

  • Statement by the command of the Central People's Defence Forces Headquarters (via @ameddicleT).
  • Statement by the command of the Central People's Defence Forces Headquarters (via @ameddicleT).
  • A list of names of Turkish nationals killed in Gare region. In addition to names of ten prisoners of war, the list includes names of three Turkish soldiers killed during the operation. Via @Kche_shakh
  • Police officer Sedat Yabalak was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Adil Kabaklı was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Specialist sergeant Mevlüt Kahveci was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10/14th (via Haber turk)
  • Uzman Çavuş Hüseyin Sarı'nın was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Vedat Kaya was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Aydın Köse was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Gendarmerie Staff Petty Officer Sergeant Major Semih Özbey was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Süleyman Sungur was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Sedat Sorgun was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Via the Turkish Ministry of National Defence.
  • Images of three of the killed PoW tweeted by the Turkish MoD.
  • Via the Turkish Ministry of National defence
  • Images of two of the PoW killed in Gara in Iraq, posted by the Turkish MoD.
  • Via the Turkish Ministry of National Defence.
  • Images of five if the PoW killed, tweeted by the Turkish MoD.
  • Aydın KÖSE. one of 13 Turkish prisoners of war reported killed as a result of a Turkey operation in Gara mountains, or were executed by PKK. (image via Aziz kose, Aydin's brother).
  • Nine of the 13 killed Turkish prisoners of war who were held captive by the PKK in Gara mountain in Iraq. (via Mürvet Karakoç).
  • According to Sabah News, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar released this image claiming it is of the PKK member who executed the Turkish prisoners. His name is Kamuran Ataman, the cave manager, nicknamed "Sorej".
  • Images of 12 Turksih prisoners of war killed allegedly as a result of Turkish airstrikes on a cave where they were kept in Gara, Iraq, or executed by PKK. Image via Muhsin.guler.
  • Two of the three Turkish soldiers killed in the operation in Gara between Feb 10th and 14th. (via the Turkish ministry of defence).
  • One of the three Turkish soldiers killed in the operation in Gara between Feb 10th and 14th. (via the Turkish ministry of defence).

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Turkish Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

YPG forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7 – 13
  • (7–13 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    Turkish Armed Forces, YPG forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3

Sources (34) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS455

Incident date

November 7, 2020

Location

العليا, Al Alia, Hassakah, Syria

Geolocation

36.596235, 40.107608 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

A woman was reportedly killed by Turkish soldiers stationed in a military point near Al Alia, Hasaka governorate, on November 7th, 2020, according to Step News Agency.

Step News Agency reported that on “Saturday morning, a woman was killed by the Turkish army stationed in a point located in the vicinity of Al Alia silos north of Hasaka.”

According to the Step correspondent, “a woman in her forties went to her relatives in the areas controlled by the “Qasd militia” in order to help her visit her family in the city of Ras Al Ain, north of Hasaka.”

The woman’s relatives reportedly drove her to the M4 road north of Hasaka in a Pickab Hilux vehicle. The woman was then dropped off on the M4 road near the High Silos. The Turkish forces monitored the vehicle through thermal cameras.

A source told Step News Agency that “the woman went to the Turkish point in the vicinity of Al Alia silos, north of Hasaka, where she stopped to drink water and the Turkish army immediately shot her and wounded her in the neck, which led to her killing.”

Currently, further information is unavailable to Airwars.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of the Al Alia (العالية) grain silos, for which the generic coordinates are: 36.596235, 40.107608. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Turkish Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM322

Incident date

November 6, 2020

Location

غندرشي, Gandarshe, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.8349369, 44.9668452 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A CIA paramilitary officer was killed in Somalia as a result of a joint ground raid with Somali special forces, it was later reported. Four elite Somali Danab troops also died during the event.

Sources close to Al Shabaab first reported on the incident. Somali Memo said: “Reports from Gandarshe area say that a suicide attack was carried out by allied forces in the area.

An improvised explosive device (IED) vehicle driven by a suicide bomber struck an American and Alpha Group militia.

An official statement from the Al-Shabaab Mujahideen Command said that the attack killed five soldiers, including an American soldier and 4 members of the Alpha Group militia, the statement said.

Reports say an explosion injured three Somali soldiers and an American soldier who were taken to Halane Camp.

The allied forces returned from Gandarshe with bodies and wounded, and military equipment was found at the scene of the attack, the sources added.

Residents said they heard the sound of US warplanes patrolling the area at midnight and the sound of a large explosion targeting them.”

The New York Times later wrote: “The officer was a member of the C.I.A.’s paramilitary division, the Special Activities Center, and a former member of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6. The identity of the officer remained classified, and the circumstances of the killing were ambiguous. It was unclear whether the officer was killed in a counterterrorism raid or was the victim of an enemy attack, former American officials said. The C.I.A. declined to comment.”

The Intercept gave details of the CIA officer’s apparent identity: “Michael Goodboe, a 54-year-old former Navy SEAL who worked for the CIA’s paramilitary unit, died after succumbing to injuries from an improvised explosive device, according to the two sources. The two sources requested anonymity because of the sensitivity around the attack and because they were not authorized to disclose Goodboe’s death… One of the people familiar with the attack said Goodboe was flown to Germany, where the U.S. has a military hospital, and later died of his injuries.”

Somali Memo said on November 26th that: “Although the exact location of the killing has not yet been announced, it is believed that he was killed in the Lower Shabelle region as part of a night raid by US forces and the Bangaraaf militia in areas controlled by Islamic law.”

On December 4th, The Guardian revealed both the date and location of the failed raid, citing local intelligence officials: “The [CIA] officer was deployed alongside Somali and US special forces during the operation at Gendershe, a coastal village about 30 miles south-west of Mogadishu, and died when fighters from the al-Shabaab extremist movement detonated a car bomb minutes after the raid began on 6 November, the official said. A Somali intelligence officer who works with the US-trained Somali ‘Danab’ special forces unit in Lower Shabelle said: ‘Our officers were supported by the US officers. We flew at 2am that night. The soldiers disembarked from the chopper and went on foot in the bush before a huge explosion went off and killed the American friend and four of our [Somali] officers.'”

The UK-based newspaper added that “Somali officials said the operation was launched following information that three senior al-Shabaab commanders would be in Gendershe that night. Among them was Abdullahi Osman Mohamed, an expert bomb-maker believed to be responsible for many of the powerful devices that have killed hundreds of civilians in Somalia in recent years…. But the Gendershe raid was a failure. After a 40-minute firefight, the US and Somali forces withdrew. ‘The operation was not successful. We did not get them,’ a second Somali officer said.”

The Guardian also cited al Shabaab commanders: “Al-Shabaab sources confirmed the clash, and claimed they had ambushed the US and Somali forces after learning of the operation in advance. ‘American soldiers accompanied by Somali forces raided an al-Shabaab base in Gendershe. We had received intelligence that they were coming. We were ready and a fierce gun battle broke out. A number of officers were killed including the CIA officer,’ Abu Mohamed, an al-Shabaab commander in Lower Shabelle, told the Guardian.”

The incident occured at approximately 4:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (18) [ collapse]

  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Gear and body parts of soldiers killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of the village Gandarshe (غندرشي), for which the coordinates are: 1.8349369, 44.9668452. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1951

Incident date

October 16, 2020

Location

المجيد أو المجبل, Al Majid or Al Majbal, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.504595, 40.656100 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

A possible civilian male was killed in an alleged US-led Coalition airdrop operation in the village of Al Majbal or Al Majid, Deir Ezzor governorate, on October 16th, 2020. While some local sources reported that the man was a civilian, others wrote the man was suspected of being affiliated with ISIS or a previous member of pro-Turkish factions. Two other civilians, including a woman, were reportedly injured.

Al Khabour reported that the Coalition operation targeted the house of Al Hawash Al Trifin in Al Majbal village, around 2 AM on October 16th. An hour later, Al Hawash, reportedly a civilian, was arrested.

According to Al Khabour, the civilian Asad Suleiman Al Sawadi was killed “with a direct bullet wounding him in the neck, killing him immediately, as he stood in front of his window.” The operation reportedly lasted until 5 AM.

According to a DeirEzzor24 correspondent, “the operation resulted in one death, two injuries, including a woman, and one arrest, in addition to the bombing of an abandoned house in the village”.

The DeirEzzor24 report also stated that four Coalition helicopters carried out the operation with a joint Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) ground force. The Coalition “called on the people through loudspeakers to stay at their homes and not to leave them, and to separate women and children from youths and men”.

JisrTV wrote that the operation targeted people suspected to be affiliated with ISIS, “while one of the wanted persons was killed while trying to arrest him”, adding that “SDF forces carried out raids in a number of houses, combing them, and blew up a house”.

The official spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve (@OIRSpox) tweeted on October 16th: “This week Iraqi and Syrian partners did 32 #defeatDash operations, saving local communities from 41 #Daesh terrorists”.

Zengin wrote that the operation “led to the death of a person and the injury of his wife, who was a former member of the ranks of the pro-Turkish factions.”

In its January 2021 monthly civilian casualty report, the US-led Coalition determined this event to be ‘non credible’, asserting: “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 incident occured between 2:00 am and 5:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Assad Yassin Al Sawadi was killed in an alleged joint US-led Coalition and SDF airdrop operation in Al Majid or Al Majbal on October 16th, 2020 (via Euphrates Eye).

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck within the village of Al Majbal (المجبل) or Al Maijd (المجيد), allegedly within the Suwar (صور‎) subdistrict. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Suwar are: 35.504595, 40.656100.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    in al Majid, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFV501302
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jan 6, 2021
  • Oct. 16, 2020, in Al Majid, 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. 3289/CS1951 37SFV501302

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS436

Incident date

May 17, 2020

Location

دير غصن, Deir Ghosn, Hassakah, Syria

Geolocation

37.105027, 41.803837 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

According to the Syrian Arab News Agency (SANA), a civilian was killed when allegedly Turkish forces opened fire on farmers in Deir Ghosn in Hasaka, Syria on May 17th, 2020.

SANA said that “local sources told SANA’s reporter in Hasaka that at Sunday afternoon, Turkish occupation forces opened fire at farmers working in their fields in Deir Ghosn near the Turkish borders, killing one of the farmers.”

@NadiaAbidd wrote that “a civilian was shot dead by the #Turkish occupation forces while he was working on his farmland west of Al Malikiyah town in #Hasaka countryside.”

No more details are available at the moment.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Deir Ghosn (تل تمر), for which the generic coordinates are: 37.105027, 41.803837. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Turkish Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1946

Incident date

May 17, 2020

Location

الزر, Al Zir, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.12527, 40.42864 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A civilian was killed by a sniper on the rooftop of his house in Al Zer as he was watching Coalition forces entering the village of Al Shouhaibl, Deir Ezzor governorate, on May 17th 2020, according to local sources.

Euphrates Eye wrote that “Muhammad Khleif Al Hamra was killed when he was watching the Coalition forces from the roof of his house as they stormed the house of Muhammad Al Hussein Al Madad in Al Shouhaibl town and arrested several people from Al Madad’s house.” The source added that Al Hamra was killed by a sniper and was “a civilian who does not belong to any faction who is the owner of a food store in the town of Al Zir.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that “the raiding forces killed a civilian who was shot while he was on the roof of his house located at the outskirts of the village of Al Zir near Al Shouhaibl, where the young man was watching the operation [in Shouhaibl]. His brother was arrested after that.”

According to the SOHR, the incident occurred during a United States forces operation in coordination with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the village of Al Shouhaib to find two people from the same family, reportedly working in trade. The special task forces of the SDF surrounded two houses and secured the area before the houses were raided and searched. The two wanted individuals were not found, but two of their sons were arrested.

In their monthly civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition has indicated that the credibility of this civilian harm allegation is in the process of being assessed.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Muhammad Khleif Al Hamra was killed by alleged US-led Coalition snipers when he watched Coalition forces enter his village Al Shouhaibl from the roof of his house on May 17th 2020 (via Euphrates Post).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Muhammad Khleif Al Hamra was killed by alleged US-led Coalition snipers when he watched Coalition forces enter his village Al Shouhaibl from the roof of his house on May 17th 2020 (via Euphrates Post).

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a civilian being struck by gunfire on a rooftop in the village of Al Zir (الزر), while on looking into the adjacent village of Al Shahel (الشحيبل). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Al Zir are: 35.12527, 40.42864.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Open incident
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
  • Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) 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)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1945

Incident date

May 16, 2020

Location

بالقرب من مسجد أبو بكر الصديق ,البصيره, Vicinity of Abu Bakr Al Siddiq mosuqe, Al Basira , Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.152540, 40.423494 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

The homes of civilians were reportedly raided and bombed by alleged Coalition forces in a possible joint action with the Syrian Democratic Forces in the city of Al Basira, Deir Ezzor governorate, on May 16th, 2020, leading to the death of five possible civilians. Sources additionally reported that two to three men likely linked to ISIS were killed.

Euphrates Eye reported that Coalition forces had targeted three houses of Internally Displaced People (IDP) in Al Basira. The source indicates that five possible civilians were killed in one of the raids: “In Ibrahim Al Baraka’s house, inhabited by displaced people from Albukamal, there were clashes because the displaced people refused to surrender.” Five of the displaced people present were reportedly killed in the house, after which Coalition forces bombed the building. It is not specified whether the victims were civilians or militants.

According to Euphrate Eye, men and women were arrested and interrogated after raids on the house of Hassan (“pharmacist of Albufahd”) and the house of Hammoud Abu Hani, which were both in use by internally displaced people from Albukamal. According to the source, all those arrested were later released.

@DeirEzzor24 wrote that “three persons believed to be linked to ISIS were killed, and a number of others were arrested, by the international Coalition forces, in an airdrop operation in a neighbourhood of the city of Al Basira, east of Deir Ezzor, on Saturday, May 16, 2020. Special forces from SDF participated in the operation.” The source added that the operation lasted for an hour, while the Coalition requested civilians through loudspeakers to remain in their homes.

Other sources also report the victims were “likely” ISIS members. According to Eye On Hasaka, the operation took place in the evening, whereas Step Agency reported the incident occured around dawn.

According to Euphrates Post “the Coalition aircraft targeted with heavy machineguns around the Abu Bakr Al Siddiq mosque in Al Basira after a military convoy of SDF forces arrived in the city from the side of the Al Safa mosque.”

Whereas all sources reported the operation to be a joint action, Step Agency wrote that “it is worth noting that this raid operation did not witness the participation of the “Qasd militia”, unlike the previous times that the American forces raided the areas of Deir Ezzor.” Hence, Airwars graded the strike status of this incident as contested.

In the second of their September 2020 civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition assessed reports that they were responsible for civilian harm in this strike as “non-credible”, stating that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area at that time.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–7
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck in the vicinity of Abu Bakr Al Siddiq mosque (مسجد أبو بكر الصديق), in the village of Al Basira (البصيره). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Abu Bakr Al Siddiq mosque are: 35.152540, 40.423494

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFU296908
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 9, 2020
  • May 16, 2020, in Al Basira, 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. 3182/CS1945 37SFU296908

Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
  • Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF)
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2–7
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1943

Incident date

February 12, 2020

Location

خربة عمو, Road between Khirbet Amo and the Allaya neighborhood on the outskirts of Al Qamishli, Al Hasaka, Syria

Geolocation

37.038759, 41.274014 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

One man was killed and three civilians were wounded in clashes between American troops and Syrian regime forces near the village of Khirbet Ammo, Al Hasaka governorate, on February 12th, 2020, according to local sources. It remains unclear if the killed man was a civilian or a member of an armed group.

Sana reported that “American occupation soldiers fired live bullets and smoke bombs on the locals as a civilian from the village of Khirbet Ammo was martyred while another civilian from Hamou village was injured.” According to Sana, “hundreds of locals of Khirbet Ammo and Hamou villagers gathered near the post to prevent the American occupation vehicles from crossing and to force them to return from where they came.”

Step News Agency gave different accounts of the incident, writing when American troops were approaching a checkpoint of the Syrian regime forces, the regime forces then used young men to throw stones at the four American vehicles.

According to Step’s correspondent, “armed men in the gathering in civilian clothes opened fire in the air, and the American forces retaliated returning fire, killing Faisal Khaled al Muhammad, a resident of Khirbet Ammo village, and wounding another civilian. Whereas some sources reported the killed man was a civilian, other sources, such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, wrote it was still unclear if the man was “a civilian or regime-backed militiaman”. According to Step, two members of the Syrian regime forces were also wounded.

Al Khabour reported that a group of youths from the village intercepted the American patrol by throwing stones at them and then “took refuge in the regime’s checkpoint”, adding that American soldiers directly targeted the young men.

Colonel Myles Caggings, spokesman for the international Coalition against ISIS, posted a statement on Twitter (@OIRSpox), stating that “Coalition forces, conducting a patrol near Qamishli, Syria, encountered a checkpoint occupied by Syrian regime forces. After Coalition troops issued a series of warnings and de-escalation attempts, the patrol came under small arms fire from unknown individuals. In self-defence, Coalition troops returned fire. The situation was de-escalated and is under investigation. The Coalition patrol returned to base”.

Shaam News Network reported that Russian military vehicles were also present in the area. Sources gave conflicting reports on the incident occurring either in the morning or in the afternoon.

The incident occured in the morning.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–3
  • 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
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Statement by Coalition military spokesman Col. Myles B. Caggings III on Twitter (via @OIRSpox).
  • Faisal Khaled Al Muhamad was reported killed allegedly when American forces opened fire on locals of the villages of Khirbet Ammo and Hamou in eastern Qamishli. (via Eye on Hasaka)

Geolocation notes (6) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention Coalition forces encountering a Syrian regime checkpoint where an exchange of small arms fire took place, during a patrol on the outskirts of Al Qamishli (القامشلي‎). Investigating audio-visual material from sources, we have narrowed this location down to a road connecting Khirbet Amo (خربة عمو) and the neighbourhood of Allaya (علايا). The exact coordinates for this incident are: 37.038759, 41.274014

  • Reports of the incident mention Coalition forces encountering a Syrian regime checkpoint where an exchange of small arms fire took place, during a patrol on the outskirts of Al Qamishli (القامشلي‎). Investigating audio-visual material from sources, we have narrowed this location down to a road connecting Khirbet Amo (خربة عمو) and the neighbourhood of Allaya (علايا).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Panoramic stitch of footage from the incident. Satellite imagery available to Airwars does not show building A, which we believe to be a recent construction.

    Imagery:
    Global News

  • Panoramic stitch of footage from the incident. Satellite imagery available to Airwars does not show building A, which we believe to be a recent construction.

    Imagery:
    Global News

  • Panoramic stitch of footage from the incident.

    Imagery:
    Global News

  • Satellite imagery showing the distribution of buildings tagged in the panoramic stitches.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Satellite imagery showing the distribution of buildings tagged in the panoramic stitches.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–3
  • 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
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1
  • Belligerents reported injured
    2

Sources (18) [ collapse]