Between 15 and 53 civilians were killed in an alleged Coalition airstrike with “heavy shelling” on the village of Abo Al Hassan, east of Hajin in the Deir Ezzor governorate, according to locals.
Sources claimed that the death toll would rise due to the difficulty in getting civilians out of the rubble. This was reportedly due to the raids targeting residential homes, thereby displacing “hundreds of families”. All sources blamed the International Coalition for the airstrikes.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that at least 15 civilians were killed, including five children and two women.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that out of 36 civilians allegedly killed, 17 were children and 12 were women. The Observatory was the only source which claimed these casualties were members of families of Daesh fighters. Amnesty International re-reported the same figures later on.
Free Deir Ezzor Radio added that the number of deaths as a result of the airstrike had risen to 53 after the later recovery of six new bodies from the rubble, including two children and the death of two people who died from their injuries. In a further post, it reported the names of victims who belonged to one family.
Boukamal Live claimed that over the preceding 24 hours, over 100 civilians were killed at the hands of the Coalition in Deir Ezzor governorate.
In response to these reports, the US-led alliance published the following statement:
“SOUTHWEST ASIA, Nov. 17, 2018 —
Multiple open source reports today falsely claimed that Combined Joint Task Force-Operation Inherent Resolve strikes near Hajin, Syria, resulted in the deaths of civilians.
CJTF-OIR conducted a total of 19 strikes in the Hajin area between the hours of 11:00 p.m. on Nov. 16 and 4:30 p.m. on Nov. 17 Eastern European Time. These strikes were in support of ground operations against ISIS targets in the Middle Euphrates River Valley. CJTF-OIR validated these targets as legitimate ISIS targets and assessed them to be free of civilian presence at the time of the strikes. CJTF-OIR’s initial assessment following the strikes is that there was no evidence of civilians near the strikes.
CJTF-OIR detected a total of ten additional strikes in the same area of Hajin that did not originate from the Coalition or partner forces. These strikes were neither coordinated with nor approved by CJTF-OIR. CJTF-OIR calls on all other actors to cease uncoordinated fires across the Euphrates.
CJTF-OIR deliberately selects targets and uses stringent precautions to avoid injuring or killing innocent civilians in its operations to defeat ISIS. CJTF-OIR takes allegations of civilian casualties seriously and investigate each one thoroughly.”
In the second of their September 2020 civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition assessed reports that they were responsible for civilian harm in this strike as “non-credible”, stating that after a review of all available records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition action.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (3)
- Mohammed Mahmoud Tawfiq Taj Al Deen Adult male killed
- Abdul Hadi Sheikh Dib Age unknown male killed
- Abdul Karim Abass Age unknown male killed
Sources (45) [ collapse]
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Sep 9, 2020
Nov. 17, 2018, in Abu Al-Hasan, Syria, via Syrian Observatory for Human Rights report. After a review of all available records it was determined that, more likely than not, the alleged civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition action. 2633 37SFU741359
Original strike reports
For November 17th, the Coalition publicly reported: On Nov. 17 in Syria, Coalition military forces conducted 37 strikes consisting of 53 engagements against ISIS targets.
]Near Hajin, 37 strikes engaged five tactical units and destroyed 15 buildings, seven supply routes, seven staging areas, four fighting positons, two weapons caches, one media cell, and one tunnel.
France report that from Nov 14th – 20th, Task Force Wagram conducted 64 firing missions – 47 ‘lighting’, 17 ‘destruction’. Aircraft carried out 18 sorties but there were no strikes.
‘CHAMMAL SITUATION MILITAIRE DU THEATRE Offensive contre les dernières poches de Daech en Syrie L’opération pour reprendre la poche d’Hajine dans la moyenne vallée de l’Euphrate, lancée le 10 septembre, marque actuellement un temps d’arrêt. Appuyées par la coalition, les forces démocratiques syriennes se réorganisent et consolident leurs positions avant de relancer leur offensive. Poursuite des actions de sécurisation en Irak En Irak, les opérations de sécurisation des forces de sécurité irakiennes (FSI) se poursuivent. Evitant le contact, Daech tente d’alimenter un sentiment d’insécurité par des actions clandestines ciblant indistinctement les FSI ou la population irakienne. ACTIVITE DE LA FORCE La Task Force Wagram en appui de l’offensive contre les dernières poches de Daech présentes dans la vallée de l’Euphrate La Task Force (TF) Wagram appuie l’offensive des forces démocratiques syriennes contre Daech dans la région d’Hajine. Elle a réalisé, depuis le territoire irakien, 64 missions de tir (47 éclairement, 17 destruction – bilan du 14 au 20 novembre inclus).’ Depuis le début de son engagement, la Task Force Wagram a réalisé 2165 missions de tirs.'
For November 14th-20th 2018, the Dutch MoD reported that Dutch F-16’s supported ground troops in the fight against IS during 10 missions. Weapons were deployed during 3 missions above Deir Ezzor in Syria, targeting IS warehouses and fighting positions.
‘In het weekoverzicht van 14 t/m 20 November laat MinDef weten F-16’s te hebben ingezet tijdens 10 missies ter ondersteuning van grondtroepen in de strijd tegen IS. Bij 3 werden wapens ingezet, boven Deir al Zour in Syrie. Opslagplaatsen en gevechtsposities van IS zijn vernietigd.’