A reported unilateral US airstrike targeted and possibly killed Sheikh Yones Shoaib, aka Abu Hassan Taftanaz – a key leader of Fatah al-Sham. However his 15-year old son Hasan Younes Shoeaib also reportedly died, along with at least one other relative. The Syrian Observatory later questioned whether Sheikh Yones Shoaib in fact died.
In June 2019 the Coalition accepted responsibility for this allegation of civilian harm, though claimed it to have been an attack on ISIS. Its monthly civilian casualty report noted “Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against Daesh terrorists. Regrettably, two civilians were unintentionally killed due to their proximity to the strike.” In May 2020, the Pentagon declared this as a US action.
According to Enab Baladi at the time of the event, “A drone belonging to the international Coalition led by the United States, carried out a raid on the town of Taftanaz in the countryside of Idlib this afternoon, caused the deaths of Shoaib and his son, a 15-year-old and his relative, former member of the Nusra Front, Mohamed Kamal Shoaib (Abu Omar).”
Shaam News said that Shoaib’s home was targeted by a drone in the attack, and that along with the three deaths several unspecified people were injured. Baladi News said that land next to the house was targeted.
Syria analyst Charles Lister – pointing out the increase in US attacks on al Nusra, noted: “Nusra/JFS’s decision to operate as a mass movement – in the open and embedded as one component of a broader armed revolution has laid it out as intrinsically vulnerable to (a) air attack and (2) external infiltration.”
The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.
In May 2020, in its annual report to Congress, the Pentagon declared this to have been a US civilian casualty event.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
- Hasan Younes Shoeaib 15 years years old male killed
Sources (17) [ collapse]
Prior to the Coalition providing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated this event to 35.9976603, 36.7856598. In June 2019 the Coalition provided 37SCV004860 as the MGRS for this event.
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Jun 28, 2019
Jan. 6, 2017, near Taftanaz, Syria, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against Daesh terrorists. Regrettably, two civilians were unintentionally killed due to their proximity to the strike.
May 6, 2020
Since last year’s Section 1057 report, CJTF-OIR assessed that an additional 21 reports of civilian casualties during 2017 were credible, with approximately 71 civilians killed and approximately 13 civilians injured as result of U.S. military operations. With these additional assessments, CJTF-OIR assessed that a total number of 191 reports of civilian casualties during 2017 were credible, with approximately 864 civilians killed and approximately 219 civilians injured. 6-Jan-17 Taftanaz, Syria Air 0 civilians injured 2 civilians killed
Original strike reports
For January 6th-7th the Coalition publicly reported: “Near Idlib, one strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit.” However given that strikes on al Nusra are generally unilateral US actions, this may not refer to this incident.