Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS154

Incident date

December 7, 2015

Location

الهول, Al Hawl, Al-Hasakah, Syria

Geolocation

36.390223, 41.149297 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

As many as 47 civilians were reported killed and 17 injured in an alleged US Apache helicopter and fast jet attack on the village of al Khan near al Hawl.

Locals were involved in an altercation with Islamic State militants according to McClatchy, with Coalition aircraft attacking a convoy of reinforcements as they entered the village.

According to local activist Siraj Al Hasskawi, six families were caught up in the attack whom he named as “the families of Awad Al Hadeed, Ayed Al Hadeed, Ali Al Samman, Ibrahim Al Abd, Abbas Al Salman and the family of Al Abboud.”

According to the Global Post, the airstrikes took place in the early hours of December 7th. It cited an eyewitness in the village named as ‘Abu Khalil’:“It was past midnight. We were sleeping. We were suddenly wakened by a huge explosion. The house shook. The windows shattered. There was shrapnel in the walls. I ran out and saw my neighbor’s house completely destroyed. He told me, ‘Abu Khalil, I managed to rescue my wife and son but I can’t find my six-month-old baby. Help me!’ I could hear people calling from underneath the rubble. My neighbor’s mother was crying out. She’s 70. I pulled her out, along with a boy and his mother. They were all OK. My mother and my aunt both came running to help dig through the rubble. But while we did this, a helicopter — an Apache — came overhead. It fired. They had machineguns with explosive bullets. I was hit. I still have the shrapnel in my body. I fell into the hole made by the airstrike. That was what saved me. The helicopter circled round again and fired a second time. My mother and aunt were killed. The woman and her son I’d rescued were killed. Everyone but me was killed.

Three powerful rockets were used in the first airstrike. They left a two-meter deep hole in the ground. Anyone could see the hole until the Kurdish militia filled it. They don’t let anyone go near the place or take pictures. Nineteen people died in that one house. It was the Americans. For the past year-and-a-half, the only aircraft that fly over our area have been American.”

According to reports, Kurdish forces allegedly prevented the filming of civilian victims at the local hospital. Al Jazeera also cited local Arab sources as claiming that “these [Kurdish] forces deliberately give incorrect coordinates to the Coalition in order to target and empty of their populations specific villages – and to prevent the return of the displaced.”

The Union of Hassakah Youth later condemened the incident:We call on the United Nations and Amnesty International to carry out full investigations with the utmost urgency to expose the circumstances of this crime and to make those who committed it take full responsibility according to international law and the declarations of the UN.”

CENTCOM told reporters that it was assessing the claim, adding that “If the information is found to be credible, we’ll conduct an investigation, and we’ll release the results of that investigation.”

A major NGO report into the incident issued in October 2016 noted: “Amnesty International is concerned that, despite evidence indicating multiple civilian casualties, CENTCOM has not acknowledged them. The attack appears to have been indiscriminate and may have resulted from a misidentification of a military objective. Even if a military objective was present in the vicinity, the heavy loss of civilian life suggests a failure to take necessary precautions or a decision to proceed with an attack which was foreseeably disproportionate.”

The Syrian Network named forty dead civilians.

A slightly different list from the Hassakah Union gave the following names:
Ali Sleiman Al Abdallah and three children BayanMohammed and a baby. Ali’s wife Nagiya– reported killed by some sources – was described by others as having lost a leg.
Abbas al Sleiman, his wife and 2 or more children
The wife of Mahmoud Al Aboud and their four children.
The wife of Hamid Al Aboud and two daughters, one named Rim.
Eid Al Shaker’s family of five people, including children.
The mother of Ibrahim Al Aboud and his wife and his two children.
The two wives of Mahmoud Al Abboud and his four children.
Five members of the family of Abbas Al Eid
Ten members of the family of A’ed Al Hadid killed or injured
Awwad Al Hadid, his wife and their son Ali and his wife and their granddaughter Isslam.
Mohammad Ali Salman Al Abdallah, a child, also later reportedly died of his injuries.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (8)

Family members (9)

Family members (4)

Family members (4)

Family members (3)

Family members (3)

Family members (4)

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    40 – 47
  • (19–20 children9 women11 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    17–30
  • 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 (28) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Ali Sleiman Al Abdallah and his children, killed in a reported Coalition strike December 7th 2015 (via Hassakah Youth Union)
  • Abbas Al Sleiman, reported killed with his wife and children on December 7th at (via Hassakah Youth)
  • The rubble of al Khleef family home. [Via: SN4HR report dated 13th/02/2016]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Very graphic video showing charred bodie of victims of the alleged coalition shelling near al Hawl. [Via: SN4HR report dated 13th/02/2016]

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 reported that for December 6th-7th 2015 “Near Al Hawl, four strikes struck four separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed nine ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL vehicle borne improvised explosive device (VBIED), and three ISIL vehicles.”

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    40 – 47
  • (19–20 children9 women11 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    17–30
  • 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 (28) [ collapse]