As many as 19 civilians died following reported Coalition airstrikes on an oil market in central Khisham.
The Euphrates Post initially reported six civilian deaths though later raised this to 14 civilians killed: “Coalition aircraft targeted the oil market in the town today with several raids. The first raid – at dawn – did not leave any victims because no one was around. The second raid around 10am left a number of Martyrs who were from the desert of Homs. The third raid a few hours ago left four martyrs who are local to the region. This market sells red petrol substance produced by Koniko and sold by IS to their contractors, who trade the oil and distribute it to merchants from all provinces using smaller tanks.”
The Syrian Observatory placed the death toll at five, while LCCSY said four civilians died. Step News later reported that 19 civilians in total died.
RFS also put the death toll at nine and said that the raids were carried out by suspected Coalition planes.
Elnashra, Alkhalijonline, Jisr TV, Worldnews and Qasioun were among other sources who reported on the incident but didn’t identify the warplanes responsible. Death counts varied form six to eight non-combatants, with a dozen more wounded.
JFL reported: “Correspondent Justice Observatory said “The first raid was at 8:00 am, and did not cause any injuries, while the second and third raids were at noon time, leading to a dozen civilians, including civilians from outside Deir Ezzor province dying, with others injured.” They didn’t identify the planes responsible.
Ara news also said that the planes – which reportedly belonged to the Coalition – returned for further raids: “Warplanes of the international coalition targeted Khisham with several air raids. The warplanes returned to target the area again but did not kill or injure people. On a third raid, in the afternoon, they targeted the gasoline market for the sale of gasoline, killing six civilians. The number increased to eight as two others later died from their injuries.”
The Coalition reported on March 4th that “Jan. 7, 2017, near Dayr Az Zayr, Syria, via self-report: During a strike on ISIS oil tanker trucks it is assessed that one civilian driver was unintentionally killed. After warning shots were fired to dislodge drivers from the vehicles, aircraft engaged the targets. After munitions’ impact a driver exited a vehicle and attempted to flee when he was killed by a secondary explosion from one of the oil tanker trucks.”
Officials later confirmed that that event was at the Tabiyah Modular Refinery, which Airwars has geolocated to Khisham (35.343345, 40.3189659.)
In July 2019, the Coalition provided Airwars with coordinates for the event, accurate to within a 100 metre box.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (33) [ collapse]
Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 35.3020098, 40.2914143
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 4, 2017
Jan. 7, 2017, near Dayr Az Zayr, Syria, via self-report: During a strike on ISIS oil tanker trucks it is assessed that one civilian driver was unintentionally killed. After warning shots were fired to dislodge drivers from the vehicles, aircraft engaged the targets. After munitions’ impact a driver exited a vehicle and attempted to flee when he was killed by a secondary explosion from one of the oil tanker trucks.
Original strike reports
For January 6th-7th the Coalition publicly reported that “Near Dayr Az Zawr, nine strikes destroyed 18 oil refinement stills, 15 oil pump jacks, and an oil well head.”