Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS289

Incident date

August 7, 2016

Location

التنك, Al Tanak oil field, Deir ez-Zor, Syria

Geolocation

34.9109917, 40.836525 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Seven civilian fuel truck drivers were killed and two more injured following what appeared to have been multiple Coalition strikes in the vicinity of Al Tanak. The Coalition confirmed destroying 83 oil tankers that day – though it would be five years before it publicly admitted civilian harm resulting from the event.

Deir Ezzor 24 reported on the day that civilians were killed and wounded when eight oil tankers were burnt in a Coalition raid.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights noted at the time: “Warplanes believed to belong to the International Coalition targeted areas in al-Tanak oil field in the desert of Deir Ezzor, which resulted in the death and injury of several people and also killed several members from the Islamic State, in addition to the outbreak of fire in the fuel tankers at the area.”

Local Syria Civil Defence said eight vehicles were destroyed at al Tank.

According to Al Hal, “7 civilian workers were killed and others wounded including machinery drivers following the targeting of coalition planes al Tank oil field in the eastern countryside yesterday evening. 6 oil tankers were also burnt.”

Airwars flagged the incident to the UK’s Ministry of Defence, which initially claimed that ”we can confirm that there was no UK involvement” in the civilian harm event. However this was later clarified by the MoD, which noted in a lengthy response to an Airwars followup query that “The radius Airwars has quoted of 7km presents too great an area to give fidelity about the actual location of alleged civilian casualties. Our strike was 6km away, to the North of the location you have cited. The mission report records that the UK aircraft were ordered to “target vehicles not already struck”. We doubt that anyone would remain in the midst of an airstrike and wait for the next wave and this is supported by our recorded data which shows that the vehicles struck by the RAF were unoccupied. Therefore our judgement is that there is no evidence of UK involvement in non-combatant casualties.”

In August 2021 – five years after the event – the US-led Coalition confirmed that it had in fact killed civilians during the attacks, noting that “Aug. 7, 2016, near Al Tanak Oilfields, Syria, via Airwars report. United States aircraft conducted multiple strikes against a Daesh facility. Regrettably, seven civilian were unintentionally killed and two others unintentionally wounded as a result of the strike.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7
  • (7 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Translation: civilian martyrs and wounded including truck drivers following coalition raids on al Tank oil field as well as 8 oil tankers burnt.
  • Translation: Several raids launched by coalition planes on al Tank oil field and several tankers burnt.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    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
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    7
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    near Al Tanak Oilfields, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFU677647
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jul 9, 2021
  • Aug. 7, 2016, near Al Tanak Oilfields, Syria, via Airwars report. United States aircraft conducted multiple strikes against a Daesh facility. Regrettably, seven civilian were unintentionally killed and two others unintentionally wounded as a result of the strike. 3025/CS289 37SFU677647

United Kingdom
  • May 19, 2017
  • Incident 1 The radius Airwars has quoted of 7km presents too great an area to give fidelity about the actual location of alleged civilian casualties. Our strike was 6km away, to the North of the location you have cited. The mission report records that the UK aircraft were ordered to “target vehicles not already struck”. We doubt that anyone would remain in the midst of an airstrike and wait for the next wave and this is supported by our recorded data which shows that the vehicles struck by the RAF were unoccupied. Therefore our judgement is that there is no evidence of UK involvement in non-combatant casualties.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For August 7th-8th 2016, the Coalition reported: “Near Abu Kamal, one strike destroyed 83 ISIL oil tankers.”

United Kingdom
  • English
    /
    Original

‘Sunday 7 August – Tornados destroyed a number of Daesh tankers in a Syrian oilfield. Typhoons and a Reaper provided further close air support near Qayyarah in northern Iraq…Daesh were observed to be attempting to extract oil from one of the eastern Syrian oilfields which had been successfully targeted by previous coalition air strikes earlier this year. On Sunday 7 August, two Tornados attacked a convoy of tankers north of Abu Kamal. Four Paveway IVs and four Brimstone missiles accounted for a number of vehicles, denying the terrorists the oil revenue they desperately seek.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7
  • (7 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (9) [ collapse]