Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS019

Incident date

November 6, 2014

Location

حارم, Harim, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

36.21003, 36.51826 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

Six months after US air raids had targeted the Khorasan Group (part of the al-Nusra Front) and the militant group Ahrar al-Sham, the Coalition conceded that two children had “likely” died in the attack – the first public concession of any civilian deaths after 4,000 airstrikes against ISIS over nine months.

The November 5th US-only raid targeted the villages of Harem, Bab Al Hawa, Sarmada, Reef Al-Muhameen and Binsh.

Reports from the night remain confused, with civilian deaths claimed at a number of locations. Reuters carried a statement from Ahrar al-Sham saying that “The air strikes came last night and hit a number of areas in the liberated Idlib countryside,” and that casualties included “women and children and civilians.”

The site of the civilian deaths was Harem, CENTCOM later confirmed. It also accepted that two civilian NGO workers were  injured in the attack. According to the Syrian Revolution Forum blog: “The planes of the Arab/Western coalition launched air strikes on Syrian cities adjacent to the Turkish border. The centre of the town of Harem was targeted with more than six raids causing the death of four children and causing massive destruction to residential and commercial property on Al Sijn street.”

One of the children was identified as a five year old girl,  whose father Ali Saeed Al Haj Qaddour – a fighter with the al-Nusra Front – also died in the attack (both pictured below.) Daniya’s mother and brother Saeed were reported to have been severely wounded. A second unidentified female child victim was shown alongside the body of Daniya in several graphic videos and photographs taken after the US bombing.

VDC additionally reported the deaths of three or four unidentified male children in the Coalition attack – though gave no further details.

In July 2019, the Coalition provided Airwars with the geolocation of the event, accurate to a 100m box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 6
  • (2–6 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (16) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Video showing the two girls killed in the strike, included in the SNHR report.
  • Video purporting to show fires resulting from the Coalition bombing on Sarmada on 5/11/2014. Published by ShaamNetwork S.N.N.
  • Video purporting to show fires resulting from the coalition bombing on Sarmada on 5/11/2014. Published by ShaamNetwork S.N.N.
  • Video purporting to show fire crews attempting to put out the fires resulting from the coalition bombing on Sarmada on 5/11/2014. Published by ShaamNetwork S.N.N.
  • Video purporting to show extensive destruction in civilian homes in Harem.
  • Video purporting to show extensive destruction in Harem following coalition strikes. This video was included in a Syrian Network for Human Rights report.
  • Video showing extensive destruction after the alleged strike.
  • Video footage shows civil defense teams in Al-Atarem area trying to find any victims underneath the rubbles in Harem city.
  • Huge signs of destruction reportedly caused by the international alliance’s shelling against Harem.
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    5-year-old Daniya Ali Al-Haj Qaddour (via SNHR)
  • Daniya Ali Al-Haj Qaddour with her father, an Al-Nusra fighter who was also allegedly killed in the strike (via SNHR)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Unidentified girl allegedly kileld in the strikes (via SNHR)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via SNHR)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via SNHR)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via SNHR)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via SNHR)

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 36.212564, 36.519736

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    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
    2
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    Harem, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SBA769101
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • May 21, 2015
  • The preponderance of the evidence in the investigation indicates the airstrikes conducted against facilities used by Khorasan Group in the vicinity of Harim City, Syria, likely led to the deaths of two non-combatant children. From May declassified file: "CCWEBOPS received social media reports that civilians were killed or injured during a strike on a named objective in Syria. // TF nominated the target. SNHR report on CIVCAS. CFACC initially assessed that there was insufficient information to conclude whether the alleged CIVCAS allegations are credible. CFACC was unable to assess whether civilians were co-located with the targeted KG NAIs. After additional information was received, CJTF was tasked with conducing an additional credibility assessment based on the new information. 12/31/2014 JTF assessed this allegation that a child was killed during the strike as potentially credible. Investigation appointed 8 Jan 15 with a suspense of 22 Jan 2015"

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

CENTCOM originally confirmed US strikes in the vicinity, though denied causing any civilian deaths: “U.S. military forces conducted airstrikes last night against five Khorasan Group targets in the vicinity of Sarmada, Syria, using bomber, fighter and remotely piloted aircraft. All aircraft exited the strike areas safely. We are still assessing the outcome of the attack, but have initial indications that it resulted in the intended effects by striking terrorists and destroying or severely damaging several Khorasan Group vehicles and buildings assessed to be meeting and staging areas, IED-making facilities and training facilities. These strikes were undertaken only by U.S. assets.“

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 6
  • (2–6 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (18) [ collapse]