Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS001

Incident date

September 23, 2014

Location

كفردريان, Kafr Daryan, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

36.176908, 36.668356 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

On the first night of US airstrikes in Syria, the United States carried out a sequence of attacks on the Al Qaeda-affiliated Khorasan Group (part of the al-Nusra Front.) For the only recorded occasion during the allied air war, the US deployed Tomahawk cruise missiles to strike targets in the vicinity of Aleppo. Locals also reported what they described as US combat aircraft participating. Up to fifteen civilians died in the strikes, along with “a large number of mujahideen” according to one Al Qaeda-linked militant at the scene.

Eyewitnesses told SN4HR that all of the civilian deaths occurred when a house collapsed: “The huge pressure from the explosion caused the collapse of a two-storied residential house near the Nusra Front target, less than 100 m from it. This caused the death of 12 people, all civilians, including five children and five women.” SN4HR later added a 13th fatality to its lists.

The civilian victims were later named by various sources.

After examining video evidence of apparent US cruise missile fragments at the village, Human Rights Watch later said that the strikes “should be investigated for possible violations of the laws of war.”

Buzzfeed also spoke with two eyewitnesses to the attack, with one noting: “What we saw with our own eyes was unreal — the [civilian] houses were completely gone. Our job was to collect the body parts. The worst thing was the children. It’s still in my mind.

An internal CENTCOM investigation into alleged civilian deaths swiftly concluded “No further inquiry required,” it was revealed a year later. This was in part based on an assessment that “Open source images presented as casualties from the strikes actually came from previous GoS [Government of Syria] strikes.”

Airwars has since examined all known published images relating to the Kafr Daryan event. As our Syria researcher Kinda Haddad notes, “Every picture but one we are aware of first appears on 23rd September 2014, and in connection with Kafr Daryan.”

The one known exception is a picture which first appeared as a tweet on September 2nd, after a child was killed by the Assad regime. Shortly after the Kafr Daryan attack some three weeks later, that same image was claimed in English by at least one site to have been taken at Kafr Daryan.

However even a rudimentary search by CENTCOM would have identified multiple photographs and videos relating to September 23rd itself. Even when investigators noted new evidence on the strike from the Syrian Network for Human Rights in April 2015, this did not appear to trigger any new inquiry.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (4)

Family members (3)

Family members (2)

  • Mohammed Darwish Adult male Named by Global Post, husband killed
  • Fatima Darwish Adult female Named by Global Post, wife killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    13–18
  • (5 children5 women4–6 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    15
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (13) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    GRAPHIC Mahmoud Juma’a Mua’az, slain in a reported US strike Sept 23 2014 (SNHR)
  • Alleged cruise missile fragment recovered from the scene, Sept 2014 (SNHR)
  • Video posted by Salah Fojo, resident of Kafar Daryan village. Shows unidentified victims removed from rubble. Titled ‘Idlib countryside the search for the casualties following the raid by the coalition forces on Kafar Daryan’
  • Video posted by Salah Fojo purporting to show fragments of US missile from attack
  • Video posted by Salah Fojo of victims being rushed for medical treatment at Kafar Daryan
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Video posted by Salah Fojo, resident of Kafar Daryan, showing children reportedly injured in the air raid
  • Video posted by a satellite channel called Sadaa Al-Sham with three eye witness accounts from villagers.
  • Another video of the incident posted by Salah Fojo
  • Video described as “documents the shelling of Jabhat Al Nusra Headquarters” posted by Salah Fojo
  • Video described as “documents the destruction caused by coalition forces airstrikes” posted by Salah Fojo
  • Remnants of the US missile supposedly used in the attack (via Salah Fojo)
  • Basmala Jahjah who was reportedly in the strike (via SN4HR)
  • Mohammad Abd Al-Hameed Jahjah who was reportedly killed in the strike (via SN4HR)

Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a residential building in Kafr Daryan (كفردريان) village. We identified building destroyed in (كفردريان) Kafr Daryan during the time period are: 36.176908, 36.668356. However, to the limited satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Destroyed building in (كفردريان) Kafr Daryan. Before

    Date taken:
    August 4, 2014

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

  • Destroyed building in (كفردريان) Kafr Daryan. After

    Date taken:
    September 10, 2015

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

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
  • Stated location
    near Kafr Daryan, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SBA903060
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jun 28, 2018
  • 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.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    13–18
  • (5 children5 women4–6 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    15
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (24) [ collapse]