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.
Sources (27) [ collapse]
United States Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
"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."