Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS431

Incident date

January 7, 2017

Location

خشام, Khusham, Deir ez-Zor, Syria

Geolocation

35.31116, 40.27822 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

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.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 19
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–12
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (33) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Smoke bellows from Khusham following an alleged Coalition strike on an oil market, Jan 7th (via Ara news)

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 35.3020098, 40.2914143

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 secondary explosion(s)
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    1
  • Stated location
    near Dayr Az Zayr, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFV162083
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • 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

US-led Coalition

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.”

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 19
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–12
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (33) [ collapse]