Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS1880

Incident date

January 3, 2019

Location

بادية 24 في الشعفة, Badia 24, 1km east of Al Shaafa town, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

34.595734, 40.944414 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

According to local sources, an alleged Coalition airstrike struck a residential house near the town of Al-Shaafa on the afternoon of January the 3rd. Between 7 and 13 civilians were initially reported killed, including women and children. The UN later raised this tally to 16 fatalities and two injuries.

The house owner Sulaiman Mohammed al-Ahdab and his daughter survived while the rest of the family was reported killed, including a named husband and wife.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SN4HR) reported that at least seven civilians died. Most sources put the death toll higher and reported that 11 civilians were killed, all part of the same family. Euphrates Post reported that two additional family members were also killed, bringing the total to 13 civilians.

Deir Ezzor 24 and SN4HR added that among the dead were three children, while the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported on five children. SOHR added that three women died, while SN4HR reported on one woman’s death. One source added that the family had moved outside the town of Shaafa to escape the bombing.

In September 2019, the UN Commission of Inquiry for Syria accused the US-led Coalition of potential war crimes in this event, noting that “The Commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that international coalition forces may not have directed their attacks at a specific military objective, or failed to do so with the necessary precaution. Launching indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amounts to a war crime in cases in which such attacks are conducted recklessly.”

The full Commission assessment for this event is as follows:

“The Commission continued its investigations into a series of air strikes carried out by the United States-led international coalition during operation Al-Jazeera Storm (A/HRC/40/70, para. 49), which resulted in a high number of civilian casualties. For example, on 3 January at approximately 7.30 a.m., a series of air strikes hit a single-floor residential building and its immediate vicinity. The building was positioned more than a kilometre east of the centre of Sha‘fah, south of Hajin. Analysis of the impact site, including the crater, in conjunction with witness statements describing the launching of rockets from a jet fighter, led the Commission to conclude that an air strike had been the cause of the damage.

The strike killed 16 civilians, including 3 women, 1 man, 3 boys and 9 girls. The majority of children killed were aged 5 years or less, with the youngest victim being a 2-month-old infant. Fourteen victims belonged to the same family, while two additional victims were relatives staying at the house. Two boys survived the attack, sustaining injuries.

Witness statements, satellite imagery and video material received and reviewed by the Commission confirmed the targeted object had been an isolated building on the outskirts of Sha‘fah, hundreds of metres from the next cluster of residential buildings and positioned off the main roads. While interviewees confirmed the presence of ISIL terrorists in Sha‘fah itself, the Commission found no indication of any ISIL presence or military target in the wider area of the building struck at the time of the attack.

The Commission recalls numerous previous attacks by the United States-led international coalition that resulted in death or injury to civilians. Furthermore, the Commission notes the isolated location of the targeted object, the high number of civilian casualties who were overwhelmingly children and the specific statements of eyewitnesses indicating the exclusive presence of civilians at the scene of the incident, all coinciding with the apparent absence of a military target in the area of the attack.

The evidence obtained regarding this incident indicated that international coalition forces failed to employ the necessary precautions to discriminate adequately between military objectives and civilians. The Commission finds that there are reasonable grounds to believe that international coalition forces may not have directed their attacks at a specific military objective, or failed to do so with the necessary precaution. Launching indiscriminate attacks that result in death or injury to civilians amounts to a war crime in cases in which such attacks are conducted recklessly.”

Ambassador James Jeffrey, the US’s top diplomat for Syria, rejected the allegation of war crimes on September 12th, telling reporters: “We do not accept the findings of that particular body.”

In its August 2019 monthly casualty report, the Coalition noted that it had reopened an assessment into the case due to new information.”

The incident occured at approximately 7:30 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (18)

  • Haj Jumah al-Shati Abu Muhammad Adult male killed
  • Wife of Haj Jumah al-Shati Abu Muhammad Adult female killed
  • Sulaiman Mohammed al-Ahdab Adult male injured
  • Daughter of Sulaiman Mohammed al-Ahdab Child female injured
  • Unnamed female member of family 1 Adult female killed
  • Unnamed female member of family 2 Adult female killed
  • Unnamed boy 1 Child male killed
  • Unnamed boy 2 Child male killed
  • Unnamed boy 3 Child male killed
  • Unnamed girl 1 Child female killed
  • Unnamed girl 2 Child female killed
  • Unnamed girl 3 Child female killed
  • Unnamed girl 4 Child female killed
  • Unnamed girl 5 Child female killed
  • Unnamed girl 6 Child female killed
  • Unnamed girl 7 Child female killed
  • Unnamed girl 8 Child female killed
  • Unnamed girl 9 Child female killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    16
  • (12 children3 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • 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 (19) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Between Dec. 30, 2018 and Jan. 12, 2019, CJTF-OIR conducted 575 strikes consisting of 1,147 engagements in Syria, and conducted 13 strikes consisting of 19 engagements in Iraq.

In Syria, 575 strikes engaged 485 ISIS tactical units, and destroyed 308 staging areas, 220 fighting positions, 105 mortar, rocket and artillery systems, 57 supply routes, 50 manufacturing facilities for improvised explosive device and vehicle borne improvised explosive device, 31 command and control nodes, 26 vehicles, 19 weapons caches, 18 mortar launching sites, 18 petroleum oil and lubricant storage facilities, 11 heavy and light weapon systems, eight reservoirs and tankers for petroleum oil and lubricants, eight pieces of heavy equipment, seven vehicle borne improvised explosive devices, six tunnels and caves, four buildings, two unmanned aircraft systems, one weapons facility, one logistics hub and one fuel storage.

France
  • English
    /
    Original

CHAMMAL SITUATION MILITAIRE DU THEATRE Offensive contre les dernières poches de Daech en Syrie Dans la moyenne vallée de l’Euphrate, les forces démocratiques syriennes (FDS), après avoir sécurisé la ville d’Hajine, poursuivent leur offensive en direction du sud et du village de Shafah. Daech reste résilient et s’appuie sur une densité de piégeage importante pour ralentir les FDS. Poursuite des actions de sécurisation en Irak En Irak, la situation est inchangée. La sécurisation des célébrations du nouvel an a été un succès. Pour autant, Daech conserve des capacités de nuisance, tout en poursuivant sa posture de dissimilation et d’évitement. ACTIVITE DE LA FORCE Le dispositif français déployé au Levant n’a pas évolué. Par l’opération Chammal, les armées françaises demeurent engagées, les modalités de l’engagement tenant compte en permanence des réalités du terrain. La priorité demeure de vaincre militairement cette organisation terroriste, et empêcher sa résurgence alors qu’elle passe à la clandestinité. 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 les forces démocratiques syriennes contre Daech dans la région d’Hajine. La TF Wagram a réalisé, depuis le territoire irakien, 28 missions de tir (23 d'éclairement, 12 de destruction – bilan du 2 au 8 janvier inclus). Depuis le début de son engagement, la Task Force Wagram a réalisé 2446 missions de tirs. Les bases aériennes en Jordanie et aux EAU en appui des opérations Les militaires de la base aérienne projetée en Jordanie ont accueilli la ministre des armées et le chef d’état-major de l’Armée de l’air à l’occasion du réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre. Les aéronefs français basés en Jordanie et aux Émirats arabes unis ont poursuivi leurs actions contre Daech, au sein de la coalition. Cette semaine, les aéronefs de l’opération Chammal ont réalisé 14 sorties aériennes (bilan du 02 au 08 janvier inclus). Les Rafale ont conduit 2 frappes cette semaine en appui des forces démocratiques syriennes. Bilan total de l’action du pilier appui aérien depuis le 19/09/14 : 8782 sorties / 1514 frappes / 2325 objectifs neutralisés. Les Task Forces Monsabert et Narvik poursuivent leurs missions de formation La Task Force (TF) Monsabert poursuit sa mission d’assistance et de conseil de l’état-major de la 6ème division irakienne. La TF Narvik, poursuit sa mission de formation et de conseil de l’Iraki Counter Terrorism Service (ICTS), notamment dans les domaines du renseignement, du combat au corps à corps, et en conduisant des stages de remise à niveau.

CHAMMAL SITUATION MILITAIRE DU THEATRE Offensive contre les dernières poches de Daech en Syrie Dans la moyenne vallée de l’Euphrate, les forces démocratiques syriennes (FDS), après avoir sécurisé la ville d’Hajine, poursuivent leur offensive en direction du sud et du village de Shafah. Daech reste résilient et s’appuie sur une densité de piégeage importante pour ralentir les FDS. Poursuite des actions de sécurisation en Irak En Irak, la situation est inchangée. La sécurisation des célébrations du nouvel an a été un succès. Pour autant, Daech conserve des capacités de nuisance, tout en poursuivant sa posture de dissimilation et d’évitement. ACTIVITE DE LA FORCE Le dispositif français déployé au Levant n’a pas évolué. Par l’opération Chammal, les armées françaises demeurent engagées, les modalités de l’engagement tenant compte en permanence des réalités du terrain. La priorité demeure de vaincre militairement cette organisation terroriste, et empêcher sa résurgence alors qu’elle passe à la clandestinité. 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 les forces démocratiques syriennes contre Daech dans la région d’Hajine. La TF Wagram a réalisé, depuis le territoire irakien, 28 missions de tir (23 d'éclairement, 12 de destruction – bilan du 2 au 8 janvier inclus). Depuis le début de son engagement, la Task Force Wagram a réalisé 2446 missions de tirs. Les bases aériennes en Jordanie et aux EAU en appui des opérations Les militaires de la base aérienne projetée en Jordanie ont accueilli la ministre des armées et le chef d’état-major de l’Armée de l’air à l’occasion du réveillon de la Saint Sylvestre. Les aéronefs français basés en Jordanie et aux Émirats arabes unis ont poursuivi leurs actions contre Daech, au sein de la coalition. Cette semaine, les aéronefs de l’opération Chammal ont réalisé 14 sorties aériennes (bilan du 02 au 08 janvier inclus). Les Rafale ont conduit 2 frappes cette semaine en appui des forces démocratiques syriennes. Bilan total de l’action du pilier appui aérien depuis le 19/09/14 : 8782 sorties / 1514 frappes / 2325 objectifs neutralisés. Les Task Forces Monsabert et Narvik poursuivent leurs missions de formation La Task Force (TF) Monsabert poursuit sa mission d’assistance et de conseil de l’état-major de la 6ème division irakienne. La TF Narvik, poursuit sa mission de formation et de conseil de l’Iraki Counter Terrorism Service (ICTS), notamment dans les domaines du renseignement, du combat au corps à corps, et en conduisant des stages de remise à niveau.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    16
  • (12 children3 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • 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 (19) [ collapse]