Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS432

Incident date

January 7, 2017

Location

السوا, Sawa, Deir ez-Zor, Syria

Geolocation

35.61079, 40.06216 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

Between five and 40 civilians reportedly died following a Coalition airstrike at al Sa’wa, according to local sources. The Coalition later confirmed killing just two civilians.

According to Step News, “international coalition planes targeted last night oil terminal wells near the town of Al Sa’awa in the western countryside with dozens of air strikes, killing forty civilians -oil traders from the region – and the burning of more than sixty tankers to transport oil.” Shaam News instead reported that Coalition strikes “led to the death of five people who were civilians, one of whom has been identified as Sami Ahmad al Bala’at who is from Hatla village.”

Euphrates Post reported: “Coalition warplanes targeted oil refineries in Al-Sa’wa, killing five civilians and wounding more. One of them is identified as Sami Ahmad Al-Bal’at from Hatla.”

According to Qasioun, six non-combatants died and a further 15 were wounded when oil refineries were targeted in Al Sa’wa.

On March 4th the Coalition reported the following: “Jan. 7, 2017, near As Sawa, Syria, via self-report: During a strike on ISIS oil tanker trucks it is assessed that two civilians were killed. After warning shots were fired to dislodge drivers from the vehicles a number of the trucks scattered. Two of the trucks were subsequently engaged, destroyed, and their drivers presumed killed. The other vehicles in the area were abandoned after the warning shots were fired and subsequently destroyed with no assessed civilian casualties.”

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.

  • Sami Ahmad al Bala’at Age unknown male From Hatla killed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 40
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–15
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 35.53226, 39.96322

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
    Inside target vehicle
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    near As Sawa, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV962413
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Mar 4, 2017
  • Jan. 7, 2017, near As Sawa, Syria, via self-report: During a strike on ISIS oil tanker trucks it is assessed that two civilians were killed. After warning shots were fired to dislodge drivers from the vehicles a number of the trucks scattered. Two of the trucks were subsequently engaged, destroyed, and their drivers presumed killed. The other vehicles in the area were abandoned after the warning shots were fired and subsequently destroyed with no assessed civilian casualties.

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 – 40
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–15
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (12) [ collapse]