Up to 27 civilians were reported killed in airstrikes on the town of Al Shajra in western Daraa.
According to Daraa Martyrs Documentation Center, 32 “mostly civilians” were killed when positions of Jaish Khalid bin Walid, a Salafi jihadist group, were targeted. The report claimed that the Coalition launched a long-range missile, which “targeted the Islamic Court of Khalid Bin Al-Waleed Army”.
Ten detainees who were held in the court’s prison were killed in the attack, according to the Center. It noted another 17 civilians who were killed as they were in the near vicinity of the strike. Five members of the “army Khalid bin Walid” were also reported killed.
Zaman al Wasl quoted a local activist who stated that four missiles struck the court, “likely targeting a meeting of leaders”. According to Enab Baladi, “The last of the group’s Emirs was Abu Tim Enkhl, who was killed yesterday (Thursday, August 17) by an air raid on the village of Al-Shajara in the Yarmouk basin.”
Shaam News reported that “activists said that the raid targeted the court and led to the martyrdom of a number of civilians who were imprisoned in the court on charges of belonging to the Free Syrian Army. A number of civilians were killed while in court for other reasons.”
Shaam added that “Many of the dead were killed in the prison, including relatives of the founder of the Yarmouk Martyrs’ Brigade, Muhammad Saad al-Din al-Baridi, known as the “Khal”, who established the presence of the brigade in the western countryside and was killed nearly two years previously in a suicide attack. His relatives had been jailed in the wake of internal disputes within the organization, after receiving information about their intention to carry out a military coup.”
Orient noted that either the Coalition or Israel was responsible for an attack on what it described as the “Khaled bin Al-Walid Army” in Sharja, but was alone in saying this. Al Shaam mentioned that Coalition raids led to “the deaths of a number of martyrs and wounded civilians” but did not identify a specific number of casualties.
The Coalition itself did not publicly report any raids on the province on this date.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (9) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the town of Al Shajra (الشجرة), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.774031, 35.883493. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
Attached to this civilian harm incident is the Pentagon's declassified assessment of this civilian harm allegation, obtained by Azmat Khan and the New York Times through Freedom of Information requests and lawsuits filed since March 2017, alongside the corresponding press release published by the Pentagon. Airwars is currently analysing the contents of each file, and will update our own assessments accordingly.
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Original strike reports
The Coalition did not publicly report any airstrikes in the Daraa governorate for August 16th-17th and Augustu 17th-18th.
For Aug 9-15th, France report 2 strikes in Raqqah, Syria – and 13 artillery missions in Mosul.
In the past week, (11th-18th) France conducted 27 sorties, including 22 armed reconnaissance and ground support (CAS), 1 refueling outlet and 4 intelligence gathering sorties by Atlantic 2 or Rafale patrols. Two strikes were carried out in the Raqqah region of Syria. They helped support the Syrian democratic forces in their offensive to retake the city.
‘OPÉRATION CHAMMAL SITUATION En Syrie, A Raqqah, la progression des forces démocratiques syriennes se poursuit. Au sud de la ville, la manœuvre de tenaille, amorcée il y a 15 jours, s’est achevée en fin de semaine dernière. Elle a permis de réaliser la jonction des fronts est et ouest. Depuis, les forces démocratiques syriennes ont relancé une offensive vers le centre de la ville mais elles font face à une défense acharnée des combattants de Daech. En Irak, Les forces de sécurité irakiennes poursuivent leurs opérations dans l’objectif de libérer, à terme, le nord de l’Irak. Actuellement, elles focalisent leur effort sur l’encerclement de la ville de Tall Afar. Les combattants de l’organisation terroriste réalisent un travail de valorisation de leurs positions défensives pour se préparer aux combats à venir alors que les populations tentent de fuir la ville. ACTIVITÉS DE LA FORCE Les soldats de l’opération Chammal poursuive leur mission d’appui au profit des unités irakiennes engagées contre Daech. Cette semaine, sur le théâtre, les aéronefs ont réalisé 27 sorties aériennes dont 22 de reconnaissance armée et d’appui au sol (CAS), 1 sortie de ravitaillement ainsi que 4 sorties de recueil de renseignement par Atlantique 2 ou patrouille de Rafale. Deux frappes ont été conduites dans la région de Raqqah en Syrie. Elles ont permis d’appuyer les forces démocratiques syriennes dans leur offensive pour reprendre la ville. La Task Force (TF) Wagram a mené de son côté 13 missions de tir en appui de la 15e division à l’ouest de Mossoul vers Tal Afar. En particulier, les artilleurs ont fourni des feux de harcèlement et d’éclairement pour interdire aux combattants de Daech de mener des actions au sol ou de réaliser des tirs indirects contre les positions irakiennes. Le bilan global de l’activité aérienne depuis le 19 septembre 2014 s’élève 1330 frappes, 2102 objectifs détruits et 6946 sorties. ‘