Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS1959

Incident date

June 28, 2021

Location

القائم, Al Qa’em, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Airwars assessment

One child was reportedly killed and three other civilians, including women and children, were wounded in US airstrikes on the Al Qa’em area near the Syrian-Iraqi borders on June 28, 2021. Local sources also reported that between four and 11 militants, with at least four members of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization, were also killed. The US Department of Defense confirmed they carried out the airstrikes but only recognized killing militants.

Syrian Arab News Agency reported that the airstrikes attacked “residential houses near the Syrian-Iraqi borders in the countryside of al-Bokmal” led to “the martyrdom of a child, the injury of 3 civilians, and material damage”. Sputnik News also pointed to local sources that reported that “a child was killed and 3 other civilians were wounded” and that “the source denied that the target site was a military one, pointing out that the warehouses contain large quantities of oil derivatives, stressing that the fires affected vehicles that were in the target area”.

Eye of Euphrates provided information on both civilian and belligerent casualties, reporting that “the initial statistic that was reached indicates the killing of about 10 members of the Sayyid al-Shuhada militia (4 of them were recognized by the militia), amid reports of a civilian death and wounding of others, including women and children, with varying injuries, after which they were transferred to the city of Deir Ezzor”. According to them, the civilian casualties were caused by “Iranian militias hiding among civilians and taking their headquarters and warehouses within residential areas”.

The US Department of Defense released a statement that “the targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries. Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata’ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata’ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.”

Various sources reported on militants that were killed in the strikes. According to Euphrates Post, “Iraqi Popular Mobilization Militia mourns four of its fighters who were killed as a result of the American air strikes” and included an image of the four that were killed. @DeirEzzorNow also named four Popular Mobilization members killed as “Karar Abdel Aziz, Hussein Ali Abdul Hussein, Karar Saad Hamdan, Mohamed Al-Fartousi” and later provided an elevated death toll of 11.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights provided a death toll of seven Iraqi Popular Mobilization” militia members in addition to “destruction of an ammunition and weapons depot, in addition to the destruction of another military point for the militias.” Step News gave their own toll of “6 militants were killed and about 12 others were wounded”.

A tweet from @YusufAd76532779 identified that “the house that was targeted by the American aircraft last night near the city of #Albukamal and the Syrian-Iraqi border, which was used by the militias of the “Sayyid Al-Shuhada” as their headquarters, has become completely destroyed and all of the militia members were killed in it”.

Geolocation for the incident was provided by @obretix, @AuroraIntel and @SAMSyria0.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–11
  • Belligerents reported injured
    12

Sources (27) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (30) [ collapse]

  • Image of the alleged members of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Militia killed in US airstrikes on the Syrian-Iraqi border on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Euphrates Post)
  • Explosions and smoke caused by the US airstrikes near Al-Bukamal, east of Deir Ezzor, on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Euphrates Eye)
  • Explosions and smoke caused by the US airstrikes near Al-Bukamal, east of Deir Ezzor, on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Euphrates Eye)
  • Geolocation of the US airstrikes on the Syrian-Iraqi border on June 28, 2021 done by @obretix.
  • Geolocation of the US airstrikes on the Syrian-Iraqi border on June 28, 2021 done by @obretix.
  • Image of the alleged members of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Militia killed in US airstrikes on the Syrian-Iraqi border on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by @SAMSyria0)
  • According to @SAMSyria0, "one of the American raids targeted a site (the yellow circle) near the site that was targeted in previous raids (the red circle), and the two sites are located on the Syrian-Iraqi border near the crossing Qaim."
  • Images of the "American strikes on the free zone in Al-Bukamal, Syria (on the border with Iraq) targeting sites" (Image posted by @mas2oul1)
  • Images of the "American strikes on the free zone in Al-Bukamal, Syria (on the border with Iraq) targeting sites" (Image posted by @mas2oul1)
  • Images of the "American strikes on the free zone in Al-Bukamal, Syria (on the border with Iraq) targeting sites" (Image posted by @mas2oul1)
  • The before image of a home that allegedly belonged to militias of the "Sayyid Al-Shuhada" as their headquarters and was destroyed by US airstrikes on the Syrian-Iraqi border. (Image posted by @YusufAd76532779)
  • The after image of a home that allegedly belonged to militias of the "Sayyid Al-Shuhada" as their headquarters and was destroyed by US airstrikes on the Syrian-Iraqi border. (Image posted by @YusufAd76532779)
  • One of the headquarters of the "Sayyid al-Shuhada" militia, which was destroyed by US warplanes, in the countryside of Al-Bukamal. #Nahr_media
  • Geolocation of one of the strikes using video footage with coordinates provided. (Images posted by @AuroraIntel)
  • Geolocation of one of the strikes using video footage with coordinates provided. (Images posted by @AuroraIntel)
  • Geolocation of one of the strikes using video footage with coordinates provided. (Images posted by @AuroraIntel)
  • Geolocation of one of the strikes using video footage with coordinates provided. (Images posted by @AuroraIntel)
  • Geolocation of one of the strikes using video footage with coordinates provided. (Images posted by @AuroraIntel)
  • Geolocation of one of the strikes using video footage with coordinates provided. (Images posted by @AuroraIntel)
  • Damage to the Iranian militia headquarters in Al-Hari caused by the US airstrikes on the border areas of Al-Bukamal countryside on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Eye of Euphrates via Facebook)
  • Damage caused by the US airstrikes on the border areas of Al-Bukamal countryside on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Eye of Euphrates via Facebook)
  • Damage caused by the US airstrikes on the border areas of Al-Bukamal countryside on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Eye of Euphrates via Facebook)
  • Damage to a Civilian house caused by the US airstrikes on the border areas of Al-Bukamal countryside on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Eye of Euphrates via Facebook)
  • Damage to the Afghan headquarters in Al-Hari caused by the US airstrikes on the border areas of Al-Bukamal countryside on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Eye of Euphrates via Facebook)
  • Damage to the Iranian forces in Al-Hari crossing caused by the US airstrikes on the border areas of Al-Bukamal countryside on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Eye of Euphrates via Facebook)
  • Area near the US airstrikes on the border areas of Al-Bukamal countryside on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Eye of Euphrates via Facebook)
  • A crane belonging to the Revolutionary Guard heads to the sites of the raids to remove the rubble and retrieve the bodies following US airstrikes on the border areas of Al-Bukamal countryside on June 28, 2021. (Image posted by Eye of Euphrates via Facebook)

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

"At President Biden's direction, U.S. military forces earlier this evening conducted defensive precision airstrikes against facilities used by Iran-backed militia groups in the Iraq-Syria border region. The targets were selected because these facilities are utilized by Iran-backed militias that are engaged in unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) attacks against U.S. personnel and facilities in Iraq. Specifically, the U.S. strikes targeted operational and weapons storage facilities at two locations in Syria and one location in Iraq, both of which lie close to the border between those countries. Several Iran-backed militia groups, including Kata'ib Hezbollah (KH) and Kata'ib Sayyid al-Shuhada (KSS), used these facilities.

As demonstrated by this evening's strikes, President Biden has been clear that he will act to protect U.S. personnel. Given the ongoing series of attacks by Iran-backed groups targeting U.S. interests in Iraq, the President directed further military action to disrupt and deter such attacks. We are in Iraq at the invitation of the Government of Iraq for the sole purpose of assisting the Iraqi Security Forces in their efforts to defeat ISIS. The United States took necessary, appropriate, and deliberate action designed to limit the risk of escalation - but also to send a clear and unambiguous deterrent message.

As a matter of international law, the United States acted pursuant to its right of self-defense. The strikes were both necessary to address the threat and appropriately limited in scope. As a matter of domestic law, the President took this action pursuant to his Article II authority to protect U.S. personnel in Iraq."

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–11
  • Belligerents reported injured
    12

Sources (27) [ collapse]