At least two civilians, including a woman and a child, were injured in declared British drone strikes on the city of al-Bab on December 20, 2022. An alleged member of ISIS was also injured in the operation.
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that a Yemeni person was severely injured by a drone likely belonging to the Coalition in al-Bab. Local sources were conflicted as to whether the injured man was taken to a hospital in al-Bab or in Turkey, as well as whether or not he died from his injuries.
A local source also told SOHR that the injured person is an ISIS commander and lives with his family, but was alone at the time of the attack. Two civilians that were near the strike site were also injured. Syria TV correspondent said that he talked to the neighbors in the building, who reported that there were light injuries among several women and a child. Baladi News, which originally attributed the incident to the Syrian regime, identified “various injuries to three civilian” in al-Bab.
Euphrates Post identified the injured Yemeni as “Abu Yasser al-Yemeni, one of the leaders of the “Islamic State” organization” and added that the civil police were keeping him in al-Bab hospital. Naher Media gave details that Abu Yasser was known for his work as a general responsible for booby-trapping and that he witnessed all the battles of al-Baghouz.
@SyriaCivilDefe reported that Civil Defense volunteers responded to the scene to ensure that there were no victims under the rubble. Afrin Post added that the house that was struck was completely destroyed.
SOHR identified the location as being a home on Khalo street in the al-Bab city center and North Press Agency described the location as being near al-Bab city market. Furat News specified that the strike occurred near the Great Mosque, between “Al-Nofteh Street and Al-Waki Street”.
Shaam News reported that the missile that was found among the rubble was an AGM-114 Hellfire missile, which is “a US-made missile used by the International Coalition”. Naher Media cited images of the site as showing that the American missile used was an AGM-179, a missile weighing 52 kg that can be launched Apache helicopters as well as MQ-9 Reaper drones. @IdlibCallingSy specifically referred to the source of the missiles as being a MQ-9 Reaper armed drone.
Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (the Coalition) has not released a statement about this incident. The UK government released a statement that on December 20th, “a Reaper struck a Daesh target in northern Syria. On Tuesday 20 December, a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft kept close observation on a building near Al Bab in northern Syria where at least one active Daesh terrorist was known to be present. Great care was taken to ensure that any potential risks to civilians were understood and minimised before the Reaper’s crew fired a salvo of two Hellfire missiles which both struck the target accurately.” However, the Ministry of Defense has not released any statements regarding the civilian casualty claims.
Local sources pointed out that this was the first operation of its kind carried out by the Coalition in a residential area within the Euphrates Shield area.
The incident occured at 13:00:00 local time.
Sources (24) [ collapse]
UK Military Assessment:
Original strike reports
Tuesday 20 December – a Reaper struck a Daesh target in northern Syria.
Royal Air Force aircraft have continued to conduct armed reconnaissance patrols against elements of the Daesh terrorist network in Syria, as well as supporting, as required, the Iraqi authorities’ efforts to keep Daesh out of their country. On Tuesday 20 December, a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft kept close observation on a building near Al Bab in northern Syria where at least one active Daesh terrorist was known to be present. Great care was taken to ensure that any potential risks to civilians were understood and minimised before the Reaper’s crew fired a salvo of two Hellfire missiles which both struck the target accurately.
Royal Air Force aircraft have continued to conduct armed reconnaissance patrols against Daesh terrorists. On Monday 10 October, a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft, armed with Hellfire missiles, tracked and, when it was safe to do so without posing a risk to civilians, successfully engaged one such terrorist who was on a motorcycle in northern Syria, near Hamman At Turkumen.
Iraqi security forces identified a number of Daesh terrorists attempting to re-establish a presence in an area to the north of Tikrit. A Royal Air Force Reaper remotely piloted aircraft joined coalition aircraft in supporting the Iraqi operation by tracking the group on Tuesday 14 June, and at an appropriate opportunity, when the terrorists were exposed in the open away from any civilians, conducted a successful attack alongside the other coalition aircraft; the RAF Reaper employed Hellfire missiles. The group was reported to be destroyed as a result of this Iraqi-led operation, and the terrorists eliminated before they could mount an active threat to the Iraqi people.
Royal Air Force aircraft have continued to fly missions over Iraq and Syria in support of the global coalition against the Daesh terrorist movement. On Tuesday 14 December 2021, hostile drone activity was detected around the At Tanf coalition base in Syria. A pair of Typhoon FGR4s from Royal Air Force Akrotiri were conducting one of their regular patrols over Syria and Iraq as part of the global coalition against Daesh, and were tasked to investigate. On arrival in the At Tanf area, the pilots were able to identify a small hostile drone, and despite the diminutive size of the target, succeeded in conducting an air to air engagement with an ASRAAM (Advanced Short Range Air to Air Missile) which eliminated the threat it posed to coalition forces. a