Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS273

Incident date

July 19, 2016

Location

التوخار كبير, Tokhar Kabir, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.63981, 37.98093 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

In what may have been the single greatest loss of life from a Coalition action in the first two years of its war against Daesh, between 78 and 203 civilians were reported killed in a catastrophic event at the village of Tokhar – the scene of a number of other recent civilian fatalities from alleged Coalition strikes.

The Coalition later admitted that “up to 24 civilians who had been interspersed with combatants were inadvertently killed.”

Local group Manbij Mother of All The World was the first to report the event, initially noting 25 or more fatalities. The group quickly raised the death toll to 56 then 59 civilians, eventually reporting that as many as 203 non-combatants had died. Most others placed the fatality range in the low 100s. Manbij Direct noted shortly after the strike, for example, that “so far there have been 94 martyrs identified, but there are still entire families under the rubble.” So-called Islamic State also issued a tweet mid-morning suggesting that 160 civilians had died. At least 73 decreased civilians have so far been named, including 11 or more children.

There was some confusion about the site of the event. While Manbij Mother of All Worlds said five homes were struck on the outskirts of town, most other sources said a former school being used by displaced civilians was hit.

According to Syria Direct, “The airstrike, at 3:00am Tuesday morning, destroyed a school in a-Tokhar.” The news site quoted local citizen journalist Abu Omar al-Manbiji as saying: “That school housed displaced people from neighboring villages. So far we count 124 dead from the attack, and that number could very well increase.” Others placed the event nearer 5am.

The Coalition told reporters it was aware of the Tokhar allegations and had launched a preliminary investigation.

The US’s proxies said they had supplied the intelligence for the strike, with the SDF noting in a statement that “a large group of Daesh militants was moving in the vicinity of the village and within Altokhar, with their vehicles and military equipment… We had received information that the village is free from civilians.”

The SDF also claimed local groups were fabricating civilian casualty claims, in order to aid ISIL and discredit Kurdish forces.

In contrast, the US’s other proxy the Free Syrian Army condemned “the horrific massacres committed – and which are still being committed – by the international coalition aircraft against unarmed civilians in the city and countryside of Manbej.”

The Assad regime-controlled SANA instead claimed French aircraft were reponsible for the deaths: “French warplanes working as part of the so-called ‘international coalition’ led by the United States over the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic committed an illegal and bloody massacre (which is an affront to humanity) near the Syrian-Turkish border. They targeted with a violent aerial bombardment the village of Greater Tokhar, a peaceful village located in the northern outskirts of the city Manbej – exterminating entire families and flattening homes in an inhumane manner.”

In a case study issued in October 2016, it was noted that “Satellite imagery from 21 July 2016 analysed by Amnesty International indicates nine locations in which houses were severely damaged or destroyed – although given other fighting and air strikes in the area they cannot be conclusively linked with the same air strikes.” The international NGO added that “The attacks appear to have been conducted without adequate precautions taken to safeguard civilians and may have amounted to indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks.”

And following its own lengthy investigation, the Syrian Network noted: “SNHR documented the killing of 98 civilians, including 59 children and 27 women, in a bombing by fixed-wing international coalition forces warplanes on Al Toukhar village.”

On December 1st the Coalition issued a lengthy statement in which it conceded it had killed civilians – though far below public estimates: “During a strike that killed nearly 100 ISIL fighters, and destroyed 13 fighting positions, seven ISIL vehicles, two VBIEDs, a tactical vehicle, and a mortar system, it is assessed that up to 24 civilians who had been interspersed with combatants were inadvertently killed in a known ISIL staging area where no civilians had been seen in the 24 hours prior to the attack. Reports indicated that approximately 100 ISIL fighters were preparing for a large counterattack against partnered Syrian Arab Coalition/Syrian Democratic Forces and, unknown to Coalition planners, civilians were moving around within the military staging area, even as other civilians in the nearby village had departed over the previous days”

In July 2019 the Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Khaled Al Nasser Age unknown male killed
  • Nasim Al Nasser Age unknown male killed

Family members (7)

  • Mahmoud Abdurrahman Age unknown male killed
  • Samiya Al Shaikh Mousa, Adult female Wife of Mahmoud Abdurrahman killed
  • Nisreen Mahmoud Abdurrahman Adult female killed
  • Batoul Mahmoud Abdurrahman Child female killed
  • Eman Mahmoud Abdurrahman Child female killed
  • Maher Mahmoud Abdurrahman Child male killed
  • Enas Mahmoud Abdurrahman Child female killed

Family members (8)

  • Bakkar Al Ramadan Age unknown male killed
  • Ramadan Bakkar Al Ramadan Child male killed
  • Mohammad Bakkar Al Ramadan Child male killed
  • Mahmoud Bakkar Al Ramadan Child male killed
  • Ibrahim Bakkar Al Ramadan Child male killed
  • Raghad Bakkar Al Ramadan Child female killed
  • Duha Bakkar Al Ramadan Child female killed
  • Khalaf Bakkar Al Ramadan Child male killed

Family members (8)

  • Hasan Ibrahim Al Ousi Age unknown male killed
  • Zreifa Al Ousi Adult female Wife of Hasan Ibrahim Al Ousi killed
  • Abdou Hasan Al Ousi Child male killed
  • Mohammad Hassan Al Ousi Child male killed
  • Mahmoud Hasan Al Ousi Child male killed
  • Na’iema Hasan Al Ousi Child female killed
  • Eman Hasan Al Ousi Child female killed
  • Zahra Hasan Al Ousi Child female killed

Family members (17)

  • AbdulMalek Rajab Qaso Age unknown male killed
  • Gharam AbdulMalek Qaso Child female killed
  • Fa’eda AbdulMalek Qaso Child female killed
  • Nagham AbdulMalek Qaso Child female killed
  • Mohammad AbdulMalek Qaso Child male killed
  • Qusai Rajab Qaso Age unknown male killed
  • Houriya Mohammad Rajab Qaso Age unknown female killed
  • Rihana Adult female Wife of Loai Rajab Qaso killed
  • Qusai Loai Rajab Qaso Child male killed
  • Ghosoun Loai Rajab Qaso Child male killed
  • Hayat Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir Adult female killed
  • Odoula Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir Adult female killed
  • Yaser Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir Child male killed
  • Dahiya Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir Adult female killed
  • Mohammad Rajab Mowelid Qaso Child male killed
  • Mais Adult female Wife of Mohammad Mowelid Qaso killed
  • Yaser Mohammad Mowelid Qaso Age unknown male killed

Family members (14)

  • Sanaa Mowelid Al Kabir Adult female killed
  • Fatouma Mowelid Al Kabir Adult female killed
  • Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir Age unknown male killed
  • Wife of Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir Adult female killed
  • Son of Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir Child male killed
  • Daughter of Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir Child female killed
  • Daughter of Mohammad Moweld Al Kabir Child female killed
  • Daughter of Mohammad Mowelid Al Kabir Child female killed
  • Daughter of Mohammad Mowelid Al Kabir Child female killed
  • Hayat Muhajeri Adult female Wife of Qasim Mowelid killed
  • Mohammad Mowelid Qasim Al Kabir Child male killed
  • Doaa Qasem Mowelid Al Kabir Child female killed
  • Son of Qasom Mowelid Al Kabir Child male killed
  • Ghofran Qasim Mowelid Al Kabir Child female killed

Family members (17)

  • Abd Mawwas Al Abd Age unknown male killed
  • Sukaina Adult female Wife of Abd Mawwas Al Abd killed
  • Sham Abd Mawwas Al Abd Age unknown female killed
  • Mayyada Abd Mawwas Al Abd Child female killed
  • Fatouma Adult female Wife of Mawwas Al Abd killed
  • Second wife of Mawwas Al Abd Age unknown female killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd Child male killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd Child male killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd Child male
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd Child male killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd Child male killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd Child male killed
  • Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd Child male killed
  • Haloum Al Abd Adult female Sister of Mawwas Al Abd killed
  • Child, son of Halloum Al Abd Child male killed
  • Child, son of Halloum Al Abd Child male killed
  • Child, son of Halloum Al Abd Child male killed

Family members (8)

  • Mohammad Suliman Al Thaher Child male killed
  • Ammar Suliman Al Thaher Child male killed
  • Yaser Suliman Al Thaher Child male killed
  • Daughter of Suliman Al Thaher Child female killed
  • Walid Al Thaher Child male killed
  • Daughter of Suliman Al Thaher Child female killed
  • Rehab Al Thaher Child female killed
  • Daughter of Suliman Al Thaher Child female killed

Family members (3)

  • Amina Al Mawwas Age unknown female Wife of Hussein Al Saleh killed
  • Khaled Hussein Al Saleh Age unknown male killed
  • Aziza Mohammad Haj Saleh Child female killed

Family members (2)

  • Nadwa Age unknown female Wife of Jasim Al Bakkar killed
  • Ahd Jasim Al Bakkar Age unknown female killed

Family members (2)

  • Daughter of Mohammad Abu Ibeid Child female killed
  • Marwa Age unknown female Wife of Mohammad Abu Ibeid killed

Family members (2)

  • Hadi Kamel Hasan Al Sattou Child male killed
  • Amouna Adult female Wife of Kamel Hasan Al Sattou killed
  • Fatima Qaso Adult female killed
  • Fa’eda Adult female killed
  • Yasmin Adult female killed
  • Maha Adult female killed
  • Child, son of Saeed Al Ahmad Age unknown male

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    78 – 203
  • (25–71 children7–29 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    30
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (64) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victims of an alleged Coalition strike near Manbij July 19th are buried in a mass grave (via Manbij Mother of All Worlds)

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 36.6398429, 37.9810023

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible
    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
    Unseen at time of engagement
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    24
  • Stated location
    near Manbij, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SDA089554
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Dec 1, 2016
  • July 18, 2016, near Manbij, Syria: During a strike that killed nearly 100 ISIL fighters, and destroyed 13 fighting positions, seven ISIL vehicles, two VBIEDs, a tactical vehicle, and a mortar system, it is assessed that up to 24 civilians who had been interspersed with combatants were inadvertently killed in a known ISIL staging area where no civilians had been seen in the 24 hours prior to the attack. Reports indicated that approximately 100 ISIL fighters were preparing for a large counterattack against partnered Syrian Arab Coalition/Syrian Democratic Forces and, unknown to Coalition planners, civilians were moving around within the military staging area, even as other civilians in the nearby village had departed over the previous days.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For July 18th-19th 2016 the Coalition reported. “Near Manbij, 18 strikes struck 15 separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 13 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL mortar system, seven ISIL vehicles, two ISIL vehicle borne improvised explosive devices, an ISIL staging area, and an ISIL tactical vehicle.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    78 – 203
  • (25–71 children7–29 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    30
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (64) [ collapse]