Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS069

Incident date

May 20, 2015

Location

التوامة, Tawama, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.19327, 36.80928 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

According to Al Jazeera and others, a Coalition strike on the al Nusra Front at al Tawama destroyed a number of civilian buildings, killing as many as seven inhabitants. Fifteen alleged militants – most described as ‘Turks’ – also died in the attack which reportedly struck two separate locations in the village. According to Sana Revolution, an additional four civilians also died at the second location.

However SN4HR reported only one civilian fatality, that of a 9-year old girl who was the niece of al-Nusra commander Bader al Dakas who later described her death: “My niece and my sister were staying with me in the house. Most of the time we’re not in the house, we’re on the battlefield so this is considered a civilian house. She was hit by shrapnel and was killed yesterday around six in the evening. She was on the roof when it happened and she was martyred. She was 9 years old.”

According to al Watan “Witnesses from the village reported that a plane believed to be an F-16, flew over head for more than a quarter of an hour, before carrying out two consecutive raids on Al-Nusra Front’s base.”

On May 22, 2015, only two days after the alleged incident, a Coalition spokesperson confirmed to Airwars that it had “conducted airstrikes against terrorist compounds near the village of Al Tawama, Syria, May 20.” However, they declined to say whether any specific investigation into alleged civilian casualties was underway. On May 24, 2016 the Coalition again confirmed the Tawama strike in a public statement and added, “there were no observed women, children or non-combatants in the compounds at the time“. To date, Airwars has seen no record of an investigation either by the Coalition or CENTCOM. We remain unclear as to why.

The incident occured at approximately 6:00 pm local time.

  • niece of al-Nusra commander Bader al Dakas Child female killed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 11
  • (1 child)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Scene of a May 20 alleged airstrike which reportedly killed 7 civilians at , Syria (SNN)
  • Scene of a May 20 alleged airstrike which reportedly killed 7 civilians at , Syria (SNN)
  • Scene of a May 20 alleged airstrike which reportedly killed 7 civilians at , Syria (SNN)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Badr al Nakas' niece, the only named victim of a Coalition strike on May 20th (via SN4HR)
    Badr al Nakas' niece, the only named victim of a Coalition strike on May 20th (via SN4HR)

Geolocation notes (6) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the village of Tawama (التوامة), of which the coordinates of its midpoint are: 36.19327, 36.80928. Satellite imagery from April 2016, taken 10 months after the incident, shows visible structural damage in the area, in comparison to satellite imagery taken prior to the incident. In addition, using Google Earth Terrain ground view, Airwars was able to geolocate images provided by media, further verifying the location of the incident.

  • The village of Tawama (التوامة), showing visible structural damage (left: 26 August, 2014; right: 29 April, 2016)

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

  • East of the village of Tawama (التوامة), showing visible structural damage (left: 26 August, 2014; right: 29 April, 2016)

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

  • West of the village of Tawama (التوامة), showing visible structural damage (left: 26 August, 2014; right: 29 April, 2016)

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

  • Google Earth ground view matches the image (camera facing South West, late afternoon to early evening)

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

  • Google Earth ground view matches the image (camera facing South West, late afternoon to early evening)

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

  • Geolocation based on the matching Google Earth ground view

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Although daily reports only referred to a strike “near Aleppo” the coalition has since told Airwars that it did conduct a strike at the specific location: “We can confirm the coalition conducted airstrikes against terrorist compounds near the village of Al Tawama, Syria, May 20.” [email to Airwars, May 22 2015.]

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 11
  • (1 child)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (9) [ collapse]