A unilateral US airstrike on a Fatah al Sham leader may also have killed up to three members of his immediate family.
The Syrian Observatory initially reported that “an unidentified plane – it’s not clear whether international coalition or Russian – targeted a car carrying several people near the town of Batabo in the western countryside of Aleppo, killing 3 people, whose identities are not yet known.”
It later emerged that Fatah al Sham leader Abu Afghan al Masri – described as the group’s legal [sharia] expert – was the target. According to All 4 Syria a second man named as Abu Sahib al Libnani also died with a third unknown person. A Pentagon statement later noted: “U.S. forces conducted a precision airstrike near Sarmada, Syria, on Nov. 18 that killed Abu Afghan al-Masri, a senior al-Qaeda in Syria leader.“
However, Al Jazeera reported that al Masri’s wife and daughter died with him in the car.
On March 10, 2022 in the CJTF-OIR Civilian Casualty Report, the Coalition reported this incident to be “non-credible”, stating that “After review of all available evidence it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (2)
- Abu Afghan al Masri's wife Age unknown female killed
- Abu Afghan al Masri's daughter Age unknown female killed
Sources (6) [ collapse]
Coordinates released by the Coalition place the event at 36.13447, 36.73978
Attached to this civilian harm incident is the Pentagon's declassified assessment of this civilian harm allegation, obtained by Azmat Khan and the New York Times through Freedom of Information requests and lawsuits filed since March 2017, alongside the corresponding press release published by the Pentagon. Airwars is currently analysing the contents of each file, and will update our own assessments accordingly.
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Mar 10, 2022
Nov. 18, 2016, near Batabo, Syria, via Airwars report. After review of all available evidence it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike. 3075/CS379 37SBA9662201229
Original strike reports
For November 18th-19th, the Coalition reported: “Near Tamakh, one strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle.”