Israeli Military in Syria & the Gaza Strip

A child uses his mobile device in the ruins of a building in Beit Lahia, Gaza Strip on May 26th 2021. © Mohamed Zaanoun

Belligerent
Israeli Military
Country
Syria
the Gaza Strip
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

CS1383 ISSY001

Incident date

August 17, 2017

Location

الشجرة, Al Shajra, Daraa, Syria

Geolocation

32.774031, 35.883493 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    17 – 27
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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, Israeli Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Aftermath of reported Coalition or Israeli missile strike on al Sharja (via Mohamad Abazeed)
  • Aftermath of reported Coalition or Israeli missile strike on al Sharja (via Mohamad Abazeed)

Geolocation notes

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.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The Coalition did not publicly report any airstrikes in the Daraa governorate for August 16th-17th and Augustu 17th-18th.

France
  • English
    /
    Original

For Aug 9-15th, France report 2 strikes in Raqqah, Syria – and 13 artillery missions in Mosul.

France
  • English
    /
    Original

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. ‘

Israeli Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    17 – 27
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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, Israeli Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1649 ISSY002

Incident date

October 23, 2017

Location

سحم الجولان, Sahm al Jolan, Dara'a, Syria

Geolocation

32.781247, 35.935592 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Local sources reported the death of up to seven civilians, including three women and two children, and up to ten ISIS affiliated militants from Jaish Khalid bin al Walid, as a result of either Coalition or Israeli airstrikes on Sahm al Jolan.

The Daraa Martys Documentation Office reported Coalition airstrikes on Sahm al Jolan, “where two consecutive missiles targeted a residential neighborhood in the town of Sahm al Jolan”. According to the report, the neighbourhood in the western Dara’a countryside was under the control of the “Khalid Bin Al Waleed Army”. The office documented “7 martyrs”, including two women and two children, as well as a number of wounded individuals in addition to three fighters who were also killed in the attack.

Hayat News and RT both reported 10 fighters killed and identified Israeli jets as the culprit instead of the Coalition. Both reports noted that in addition to the ten fighters, two women who were believed to be wives of militants were killed. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights also attributed the strikes to Israel but quoting them, Jewish Press reported that “there was no concrete evidence indicating Israel had carried out the attack”.

Sahm al Jolan listed two unidentified children “killed after an attack by an international coalition aircraft on the town”. Daraa Martyrs Documentation Office was the only source who had identified by name a civilian casualty. According to a center report of October 28th, Sabah Ibrahim al-Masalmeh “died of her wounds after being hit by a raid by the international coalition aircraft on the town of Sahm al Jolan”.

In the first 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 local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Sabah Ibrahim al-Masalmeh Age unknown female killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 7
  • (2 children2–3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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, Israeli Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–10

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Sahm al Jolan (سحم الجولان), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.781247, 35.935592. 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
    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
    36SYB749310
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 9, 2020
  • Oct. 23, 2017, in Sahm al Jolan, 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. 3163/CS1649 36SYB749310

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For both October 22nd-23rd and October 23rd-24th the Coalition did not publicly report any strikes in the Dara’a governorate.

Israeli Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 7
  • (2 children2–3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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, Israeli Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–10

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS930a ISSY001a

Incident date

June 7, 2017

Location

الشجرة, Al Shajra, Dara'a, Syria

Geolocation

32.773896, 35.882991 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Local sources reported that alleged airstrikes struck a building in Al Shajra town which several sources referred to as an “Islamic Court” while others described it as the headquarters of the “Islamic Army of Khalid Bin Al-Walid” – a faction that has been accused of being associated with the “Islamic State”. Sources were conflicted as to whether the Coalition or Israel was responsible for the airstrikes.

Four airstrikes were reported to have launched eight “rockets” after midnight. The same airplanes allegedly continued and struck the town of Joomla, near the Jordanian-Israeli border.

Three leaders of the “Army of Khalid Bin Al-Walid” were reported killed in the attack, including the General Commander Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, military commander Abu Uday al-Homsi and Abu Dujana al-Adlabi. Between ten and 20 other people were reported killed but it is unclear how many of these were combatants.

According to the Daraa Martyrs Documentation Office, among the fatalities were three women. Additionally, the Shaam News Network reported that the event resulted in the deaths of a number of “martyrs” and wounded civilians.

According to Almadon news, civilians were informed to evacuate areas controlled by the “Khaled bin al-Walid Army” within 72 hours, and warned that imminent shelling could target the area.

Shaam News reported a statement by the “Army of Khalid Bin Al-Walid” that it “did not hear the sounds of aircraft hovering in the air and did not monitor any move to fly in the western countryside before or after the target, indicating that the targeting may have been a long-range missile, or perhaps the targeting has been inside a bombing operation.”

In their June 2020 civilian casualty report, 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.

While the majority of sources attributed the strikes to the Coalition, a tweet from @omar_alharir, an independent journalist in Syria, and Enab Baladi News blamed Israel for carrying out the airstrikes.The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center also wrote that according to Enab Baladi, “the day before the attack, the army of Khaled bin Al-Olid executed a group of senior activists on charges of collaborating with Israel and assassinating the commanders of the organization”.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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, Israeli Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    13–20

Sources (19) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, leader of the "Khalid bin al-Walid Army", was reported killed in an alleged Coalition airstrike on al Shajra town on June 7th 2017 (via Enab Baladi).
  • Smoke circling up after an alleged Coalition airstrike targeted the town of al Shajra on June 7th 2017 (via @AbozaidMohammed).

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Al Shajra (الشجرة), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.773896, 35.882991. 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
    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
    36SYB699299
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jun 24, 2020
  • June 7, 2017, in Ash Shajra, 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. 3105/CS930a 36SYB699299

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

No Coalition strikes reported.

Israeli Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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, Israeli Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    13–20

Sources (19) [ collapse]