Turkish Military in Iraq & Syria

An internally displaced Kurdish family in northern Iraq, 2016 (Maranie R. Staab)

Belligerent
Turkish military
Country
Iraq
Syria
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

CS327 TS005

Incident date

October 4, 2016

Location

الثلثانة, Taltanah, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.4457989, 37.3436021 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Up to 19 civilians including 3 children were killed – and as many as 41 people injured – when airstrikes hit the village of Al Thaltanah. Multiple reports initially assigned blame to the Coalition or Turkish forces. However, on December 1st 2016 the Coalition conceded it had killed one civilian in the event.

The Syrian Network and Syria News Desk reported that seven civilians died, and assigned responsibility to the Coalition. Several other reports also blamed the Coalition. The Syrian Observatory reported that “warplanes” targeted the village “inhabited by Kurdish civilians,” leaving 60 civilian casualties, including 13 confirmed civilian deaths.

In a separate report, the Observatory clarified the airstrikes were carried out “likely by Turkish warplanes,” and reported that the death toll rose to 19 civilians, including 3 children, noting “the number of the dead is likely to rise.” ISIL’s news arm Al A’maq News reported that 10 civilians died and several were injured in an “American raid.”

Reflecting the confusion, al Jazeera cited the Observatory and wrote, “it was unclear whether the strike was carried out by the US-led coalition fighting ISIL, or Turkey, which is leading an operation against the group in the area with support from Syrian rebel forces.”

In its December 1st report the Coalition stated: “During a strike targeting ISIL fighters it is assessed that one civilian was inadvertently killed as a result of the blast following the strike.” This was later amended on April 30th 2017: “Oct. 4, 2016, near Talatanah, Syria: Number 5 on the Dec. 1, 2016, CJTF-OIR press release reported that one civilian was killed during a strike on ISIS fighters. That was incorrect, it was assessed that one civilian was unintentionally injured.”

Halab News identified 11 civilians, 9 of which it named, who it said were victims of “Coalition plane shelling.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Unidentified from Kleisharo family Age unknown from Kafr Sgheer village killed
  • Unidentified from Kleisharo family Age unknown killed

Family members (3)

  • Mohammad Yahiya al Ibo Age unknown male killed
  • Mahmoud Yahiya al Ibo Age unknown male killed
  • Mustapha Yahyia al Ibo Age unknown male killed

Family members (2)

  • Rashid Risho Age unknown male killed
  • Ahmad Rashid Risho Age unknown male killed

Family members (3)

  • Illo al Haj Illo Age unknown male killed
  • Yahiya Yusuf Al Hajj Illo Age unknown male killed
  • Ibrahim Yahyia al Hajj Illo Age unknown male killed
  • Mohammad al Qarmatli Age unknown male killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    11–19
  • (3 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    41
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • "Satellite images show recent attack resulted from an airstrike, UN says, as battle for Aleppo sees more children killed", November 2016. (via Al-Jazeera)
  • Location of the village where the air strike took place, November 2016. (via Eastern Manbij countryside)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    Killed by strike blast
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    1
  • Stated location
    near Taltanah, Syria
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Dec 1, 2016
  • During a strike targeting ISIL fighters it is assessed that one civilian was inadvertently killed as a result of the blast following the strike.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For October 3rd-4th 2016, the Coalition reported no strikes in the near vicinity, though others for Aleppo governorate: ”Near Manbij, one strike destroyed an ISIL machine gun. Near Mar’a, four strikes engaged three ISIL tactical units and destroyed two fighting positions and a command and control node.”

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    11–19
  • (3 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    41
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS008

Incident date

November 13, 2016

Location

الباب, Al Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.371972, 37.51631 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Various sources reported intense attacks by Turkish and FSA forces on Al Bab in a push to oust ISIS from the city.

The only source which reported civilian casualties was the ISIS-affiliated propaganda outlet Al A’amaq: “One dead and three civilians injured, one of them in a critical condition. following Turkish artillery bombardment of the city of Al Bab in the Aleppo countryside.”

Sky News reported: “Turkish tanks bombed the outskirts of the city of Al Bab in the countryside of eastern Aleppo as part of Operation Euphrates Shield. This comes at a time when the armed factions of the Free Syrian Army are storming the city of Al Bab, one of ISIS’ last strongholds.”

Almodon mentioned airstrikes in its news piece: “Turkish warplanes and artillery began hitting ISIS targets in the city, including factories and workshops for the manufacture of car bombs and landmines, which the organisation used extensively during its withdrawal from villages because of Euphrates Shield.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Compilation of photographs showing the destruction to local infrastructure and wounded civilians in the aftermath of the alleged Turkish airstrikes on Al Bab, 13th November 2016. (via LirTV)
  • A news bulletin titled "The Free Syrian Army is approaching the door [of the] stronghold of Daesh in the countryside of eastern Aleppo" (via Masr Alarabia)

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS057 CS455

Incident date

January 22, 2017

Location

الباب, Al Bab city, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.371972, 37.51631 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Between six and 15 civilians died including two children and two women and 16 more were wounded in air or artillery strikes on Al Bab, Syria, according to local media – though it was unclear whether Turkey or the US-led Coalition were responsible.

Al Bab 24 said that “Al Bab city was exposed to a violent artillery attack with more than 150 shells targeting the residential neighbourhoods of the city killing six people including two women and injuring 16 others.” But the source didn’t say who was to blame.

On January 22nd, LCCSY reported that there had been “15 martyrs in #Aleepo most of them killed by the Turkish bombing on #Albab city.” This figure, however, may not apply only to this one day.

However, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, the Coalition was responsible. The source reported that “four civilians from the same family (2 children and their parents) died in International Coalition warplanes missiles fired on Al Bab city in Aleppo governorate eastern suburbs, January 22، 2017.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    6–15
  • (2 children2 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    16
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible
    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

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Oct 27, 2017
  • After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area that correspond to the report of civilian casualties.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For January 21st-22nd the Coalition publicly noted: “Near Al Bab, two strikes engaged an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an artillery piece, and damaged a tactical vehicle.”

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    6–15
  • (2 children2 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    16
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS080

Incident date

February 15, 2017

Location

الباب, Al Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.3709658, 37.5179666 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Between seven and 26 civilians including many women and children were reportedly killed in alleged Turkish airstrikes on Al Bab.

Al Bab 24 posted on Facebook that “seven people were killed following Turkish air and artillery bombardment on Al Bab northeast of Aleppo.”

The ISIS propaganda outlet Al Raed La Ykazeb Ahlahu initially agreed with that reporting.

LCCSY said that 27 civilians in the Aleppo governorate were killed, most of them in Al Bab.

Al Raed La Ykazeb Ahlahu and the Hezbollah outlet Almanar TV both reported 50 civilians dead, most of them women and children in Al Bab “during the last three days” from February 15.

HNN gave the highest death toll at 26 and listed the victims:

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Mohammad al Hasri Age unknown male killed
  • Joumana al Taweel Age unknown female killed
  • Rama al Masri Child female killed
  • Sidra al Masri Child female killed
  • Bilal al Masri Child male killed
  • Abir al Shalal Age unknown male killed
  • Abdo Mohamamd al Hasri Child male killed
  • Radwan Mohammad al Hasri Child male killed
  • Rahaf Mohammad al Hasri Child male killed
  • Hasnaa Al Hasri Age unknown female killed
  • Hasnaa Al Hasri's sister Age unknown female killed
  • Ghassan al Hasri Adult male killed
  • Ghassan al Hasri's wife Adult female killed
  • Huda al Shawwaf Age unknown female killed
  • Ahmad Hassan al Suweid Adult male killed
  • Ahmad Hassan al Suweid's wife Adult female killed
  • Ahmad Hassan al Suweid's child Child male killed
  • Ahmad Hassan al Suweid's child Child female killed
  • Ahmad Mahmoud al Suweid Adult male killed
  • Abd al Ghaffar Nassani's wife Adult female killed
  • Abd al Ghaffar Nassani's child Child female killed
  • Abd al Ghaffar Nassani's child Child female killed
  • Abd al Ghaffar Nassani's child Child male killed
  • Abd al Ghaffar Nassani's child Child male killed
  • Mustapha al Sweid Age unknown male killed
  • Fatima Khaled al Kahhat Age unknown female killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    7–26
  • (12 children3–8 women2–6 men)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    7–26
  • (12 children3–8 women2–6 men)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS023

Incident date

December 15, 2016

Location

الباب, Al Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.371972, 37.51631 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

The ISIS-affiliated media propaganda outlet Al A’amaq reported one civilian dead and others injured as a result of a Turkish bombardment of Al Bab.

It wrote: “One person killed and eight injured following Turkish bombardment targeting al Bab in the Aleppo countryside this afternoon.”

There are no other known details at this time.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    8
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Civilians reported injured
    8
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS082

Incident date

February 17, 2017

Location

الباب, Al Bab city, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.371972, 37.51631 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Between four and nine civilians including one woman died in alleged Turkish strikes on Al Bab, according to local media.

The victims were also named by Syrian Human Rights Committee, who blamed Turkey as well.

In a MTV Lebanon video on February 17th – at 0’15, the voice over states that  “the Turkish army announced that it is near to completing the operation of taking control of the city of al Bab From Daesh.  Nine civilians were killed. Ankara reported the deaths of 13 members of Daesh”.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Mohammad Abd al Basset al Bakri Age unknown male named by Al Bab and its outskirts coordination group on Facebook killed
  • Zaher Mohammad Juma’a Sheikh Wees Adult male named by Al Bab and its outskirts coordination group on Facebook killed
  • Amina al Kalzi Adult female Zaher’s wife, named by Al Bab and its outskirts coordination group on Facebook killed
  • Saleh Hussein al Jabli Age unknown male named by Al Bab and its outskirts coordination group on Facebook killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4–9
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • News bulletin of the incident on Al Bab with alleged Turlish airstrike on 17th Feb 2017. (via MTV Lebanon)

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4–9
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS345 TS005d

Incident date

October 22, 2016

Location

الطويحينة, Al Tweihina, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.443611, 37.248056 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Airstrikes, possibly carried out by Turkish forces, killed one civilian according to one local report. Others referred only to violent clashes between non state actors.

Smart News Agency reported that “international Coalition aircraft” targeting ISIS in Al Tweihina which it said killed one civilian and two members of the terror group. However, the report identified the village as being located in Raqqa governorate.

The Syrian Observatory reported instead that the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) attacked “Turkish soldiers” in the vicinity of Al Tweihina. The Observatory added that “different sources confirmed to SOHR that a number of Turkish soldiers were killed” though it may have been referencing rebels supported by Turkey. It did however allude to “aerial reconnaissance aircraft” in the area, possibly belonging to Turkey.

Tal Abiyad posted pictures and video of an armoured vehicle that it said was captured from the “al Sham Front.” (update from December 2018, this video is no longer available to view online.)

Daily Sabah meanwhile cited the Turkish military and reported that “FSA fighters with the support of the Turkish military continued to attack” Kurdish forces in the area. The report cited a number of airstrikes.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • A map highlighting that the village is in the Aleppo countryside not Raqqa countryside. It is in the bottom left corner of the area highlighted in light blue. (via Airwas researcher)
  • An armoured vehicle reportedly captured by SDF fighters from the “al Sham Front.” (via Tal Abiyad News)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For October 21st-22nd, the Coalition reported “Near Washiyah, one strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle.” For October 22nd-23rd, the Coalition reported “Near Mar’a, one strike destroyed an ISIL artillery system.”

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS031

Incident date

December 25, 2016

Location

الباب, Al Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.371972, 37.51631 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Between two and three civilians were reportedly killed in alleged Turkish airstrikes on Al Bab, Syria.

Al-Bab Al-Hadath wrote on Facebook: “A woman died last night due to Turkish warplanes shelling in Al-Bab.” Halab News, however, named two dead calling them both adult males. Aleppo AMC only reported artillery shelling but no victims.

The Syrian Observatory mentioned airstrikes and artillery shelling, and only reported “injuries”.

The incident occured during the night.

  • Ayman Mohammed Latuf Al-Najjar Adult male killed
  • Mohammed Karman Adult male killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    2–3
  • (1 woman2 men)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • URGENT: Turkish artillery bombardment targets Bab al-Bab north of Aleppo. 25th December 2016. (via Aleppo AMC)

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    2–3
  • (1 woman2 men)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]