Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS285

Incident date

July 28, 2016

Location

الغندورة, Al Ghandoura, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.67554, 37.75664 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

At least 22 civilians were killed in a Coalition airstrike on the village of al Ghandourra. According to Syria Newsdesk, the noon strikes hit the main market andii the elementary school in the town, which was occupied by so-called ISIL.

The US later admitted to inadvertently killing 15 civilians in the incident, claiming that “the munition struck the vehicle after it slowed in a populated area after the munition was released.”

Extremely graphic footage later released by ISIL’s media wing showed much of the market destroyed, with significant civilian casualties. One unnamed eyewitness states: “Today the crusader coalition planes bombed this market, a market full of civilians, so that pieces of bodies were flying around, men, women and children. There are bodies that have turned to charcoal that can’t be identified, and others are in pieces that their families can’t identify them. Is this place a place of the mujahedin? We ask God almighty to destroy America and all those who support it, we ask God to destroy the coalition and all its allies and all those who are fighting muslims, all those who are aggressing against muslims. Where are you Muslim ummah where are you?”

According to the Syrian Observatory, 28 civilians “were killed when warplanes of the international coalition committed a massacre in the town of al-Ghandour in the northwestern countryside of Manbij city east of Aleppo province. The town is more than 23 kilometers away from Manbij city, and the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in a critical situation. Also SOHR received information that 13 other people were killed in the same bombing, but they were not identified yet, and it is unknown whether they were civilian citizens or members from the ‘Islamic state’.

The Pentagon announced later that day it was conducting an investigation into al Ghandourra: “U.S. Central Command initiated an assessment following internal operational reporting that a strike today near Manbij, Syria may have resulted in civilian casualties. We can confirm the Coalition conducted airstrikes in the area in the last 24 hours.” A senior US military official told Airwars that the Coalition’s internal monitoring had already raised concerns relating to the al Ghandourra strike – and that the decision to proceed almost immediately to an investigation represented a more pro-active approach to civilian casualty allegations.

An Amnesty case study published in October 2016 used satellite and photograph analysis to determine the likelihood of civlians having been killed: “The strikes reportedly hit the public market, as shown in a video clip which Amnesty International was able to geolocate in al-Ghandoura’s central main street and other images of the immediate aftermath of the attack in which dead bodies and significant destruction is clearly visible. One child victim shown in several on-line images of the attack’s aftermath is also clearly visible at the start of the video clip. Amnesty International was unable to find any of the images on-line before the date of the incident,” the NGO noted. “Amnesty International is concerned that the loss of civilian life in the strike resulted from a failure by the Coalition forces to take necessary precautions and the attack may have been disproportionate or otherwise indiscriminate.”

The Coalition conceded that it had killed 15 civilians in a statement issued on December 1st 2016: “Near Arghanndorh, Syria: During a strike on a moving ISIL vehicle, 15 civilians were inadvertently killed when the munition struck the vehicle after it slowed in a populated area after the munition was released.”

The Syrian Network eventually concluded that 22 civilians had died in the attack. It quoted local eyewitness Mr. Safi Al Sayed: “I saw two warplanes for the international coalition forces soaring in the sky. They were supporting the Kurdish forces in their clashes with ISIS near our town. The warplanes fired a missile that targeted shops near the town mosque. In just moments, the shops were reduced to ruins and everyone was inside were turned into burned dead bodies. I smelled the burned dead bodies. It was a tough thing to see.”

 

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Family members (3)

Family members (5)

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    22 – 41
  • (3–10 children1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    25–40
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (32) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (20) [ collapse]

  • An apparent image of the July 28th strike on al Ghandoura (via Tokhar )
  • Amnesty satellite analysis of a Coalition airstrike at al Ghandour in July 2016, which likely killed 28 or more civilians
  • An apparent image of the July 28th strike on al Ghandoura (via Tokhar )
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the victims in the airstrike in Al Ghandoura (via Lens young manbij).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the victims in the airstrike in Al Ghandoura (via Lens young manbij).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the victims in the airstrike in Al Ghandoura (via Lens young manbij).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the victims in the airstrike in Al Ghandoura (via Lens young manbij).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the victims in the airstrike in Al Ghandoura (via Lens young manbij).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the victims in the airstrike in Al Ghandoura (via Lens young manbij).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the victims in the airstrike in Al Ghandoura (via Lens young manbij).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the victims in the airstrike in Al Ghandoura (via Lens young manbij).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the victims in the airstrike in Al Ghandoura (via Lens young manbij).
  • Photos showing the signs of destruction in al Ghandoura (via Al Tokhar al Kabir).
  • Photos showing the signs of destruction in al Ghandoura (via Al Tokhar al Kabir).
  • Photos showing the signs of destruction in al Ghandoura (via Al Tokhar al Kabir).
  • Photos showing the signs of destruction in al Ghandoura (via Al Tokhar al Kabir).
  • Photos showing the signs of destruction in al Ghandoura (via Al Tokhar al Kabir).
  • Photos showing the signs of destruction in al Ghandoura (via Al Tokhar al Kabir).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Some of the victims killed in the air strike (via SNHR)

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 36.677467, 37.7545406

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
    Entered target area just prior to or after munition released
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    15
  • Stated location
    near Arghanndorh, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SCA889596
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Dec 1, 2016
  • During a strike on a moving ISIL vehicle, 15 civilians were inadvertently killed when the munition struck the vehicle after it slowed in a populated area after the munition was released.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For July 28th-29th the Coalition stated: “Near Manbij, 19 strikes struck 19 separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 17 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, and two ISIL vehicles.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    22 – 41
  • (3–10 children1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    25–40
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (32) [ collapse]