Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS426

Incident date

January 6, 2017

Location

تفتناز, Taftanaz, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.99805, 36.78559 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda/HTS, ISIS

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Aftermath of the airstrike (via Jisir TV)
  • Sheikh Yones Shoaib (Abu Hassan Taftanaz), a leading figure in the "front Fateh Sham" (via Enab Baladi)
  • Table from May 2020 Pentagon report to Congress, conceding additional US civilian harm events in Iraq and Syria during 2017.

Geolocation notes

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:

  • 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
    Killed by strike blast
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    near Taftanaz, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SCV004860
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • 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.

United States
  • 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

US-led Coalition

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.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected targets
    Al Qaeda/HTS, ISIS

Sources (17) [ collapse]