Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS1896

Incident date

February 6–7, 2019

Location

الشحيل, Al Shahil - possibly Al-Khayasah neighborhood, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.08742, 40.45023 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

Local sources reported that an alleged Coalition airstrike targeted the house of Majid al-Salama in Al Shahil on the night of February 6th-7th. Baladi News blamed “US helicopters from the International Alliance, backed by high-flying jet fighters” for the airstrike. Other sources claim he was killed by gunfire. Three civilians were later admitted to have been wounded by US fire.

The house was reportedly inhabited by displaced people from the town of Al Baghouz. A man was reportedly killed and his wife and two children arrested by SDF forces. However US officials later insisted the dead man was a “combatant.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed at the time that a man ‘in the second decade of his life’ was shot dead and found near an irrigation canal in the town of Al Shahil, while other sources reported the man was killed in the airstrike and found “near the landing site used by international coalition forces”.

Mena Monitor – which cited no civilian casualties – reported that “international coalition forces on Thursday [February 7th] carried out an air landing on the house of Majid al-Salama in Al-Khayasah neighborhood in Al Shahil city in the suburb of Deir Ezzor. Field sources said that the operation resulted in the arrest of three people displaced from the town of Al Baghouz, which is governed by Daesh.”

In its monthly civilian casualty report published in November 2019, the Coalition confirmed injuring three civilians in the vicinity of this locale around this time, noting that “February 6, 2019, near Al Busayrah, Syria, via self-report. Coalition ground forces conducted an assault against a Daesh facility. Regrettably three civilians were unintentionally wounded as a result of the action.”

Following an email exchange, Coalition officials accepted that this was the same event – asserting that ” In light of that information and your notes, we have confirmed that these are directly related events, however we have also confirmed that the individual in this allegation was a combatant.”

In May 2020 in its annual report on civilian harm to Congress, the Pentagon declared this to be a US-only action.

In their monthly civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition has indicated that the credibility of this civilian harm allegation, possibly referring to the reported civilian fatality, is in the process of being assessed.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Man alleged killed in a Coalition airstrike on Al Shahil (via Euphrates Post).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Man alleged killed in a Coalition airstrike on Al Shahil (via Euphrates Post).
  • Man alleged killed a Coalition airstrike on Al Shahil (via Basam Ali).
  • Table of US-only civilian harm events in Iraq and Syria for 2019, declared by the Pentagon to Congress in May 2020.

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
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    3
  • Stated location
    near Al Busayrah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFU322837
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Nov 15, 2019
  • February 6, 2019, near Al Busayrah, Syria, via self-report. Coalition ground forces conducted an assault against a Daesh facility. Regrettably three civilians were unintentionally wounded as a result of the action.

United States
  • May 6, 2020
  • As of March 1, 2020, CJTF-OIR assessed that 11 reports of civilian casualties during 2019 were credible, with approximately 22 civilians killed and approximately 13 civilians injured as a result of U.S. military operations. The following table contains additional details about each instance during 2019 that was assessed to have resulted in civilian casualties. 6-Feb-19 Al Busayrah, Syria Ground Action 3 civilians injured 0 civilians killed

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Between Jan. 27 - Feb. 9, 2019, CJTF-OIR conducted 199 strikes consisting of 326 engagements against ISIS targets in Syria and Iraq.In Syria, CJTF-OIR conducted 179 strikes consisting of 303 engagements, engaged 146 ISIS tactical units, and destroyed 131 supply routes, 53 fighting positions, 31 staging areas, 14 vehicle borne improvised explosive devices, 13 engineering equipment, 11 explosive belts, nine tankers for petroleum oil and lubricants, eight tactical vehicles, five command and control nodes, four buildings, three aircrafts operations areas, three tunnels, two petroleum oil and lubricant storage facilities, two manufacturing facilities for improvised explosive devices, two artilleries, two weapons caches and one armored vehicle.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (10) [ collapse]