Local sources reported that alleged airstrikes struck a building in Al Shajra town which several sources referred to as an “Islamic Court” while others described it as the headquarters of the “Islamic Army of Khalid Bin Al-Walid” – a faction that has been accused of being associated with the “Islamic State”. Sources were conflicted as to whether the Coalition or Israel was responsible for the airstrikes.
Four airstrikes were reported to have launched eight “rockets” after midnight. The same airplanes allegedly continued and struck the town of Joomla, near the Jordanian-Israeli border.
Three leaders of the “Army of Khalid Bin Al-Walid” were reported killed in the attack, including the General Commander Abu Muhammad al-Maqdisi, military commander Abu Uday al-Homsi and Abu Dujana al-Adlabi. Between ten and 20 other people were reported killed but it is unclear how many of these were combatants.
According to the Daraa Martyrs Documentation Office, among the fatalities were three women. Additionally, the Shaam News Network reported that the event resulted in the deaths of a number of “martyrs” and wounded civilians.
According to Almadon news, civilians were informed to evacuate areas controlled by the “Khaled bin al-Walid Army” within 72 hours, and warned that imminent shelling could target the area.
Shaam News reported a statement by the “Army of Khalid Bin Al-Walid” that it “did not hear the sounds of aircraft hovering in the air and did not monitor any move to fly in the western countryside before or after the target, indicating that the targeting may have been a long-range missile, or perhaps the targeting has been inside a bombing operation.”
In their June 2020 civilian casualty report, the US-led Coalition assessed reports that they were responsible for civilian harm in this strike as “non-credible”, stating that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area at that time.
While the majority of sources attributed the strikes to the Coalition, a tweet from @omar_alharir, an independent journalist in Syria, and Enab Baladi News blamed Israel for carrying out the airstrikes.The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center also wrote that according to Enab Baladi, “the day before the attack, the army of Khaled bin Al-Olid executed a group of senior activists on charges of collaborating with Israel and assassinating the commanders of the organization”.
The incident occured during the night.
Sources (19) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the town of Al Shajra (الشجرة), for which the generic coordinates are: 32.773896, 35.882991. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.
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
Jun 24, 2020
June 7, 2017, in Ash Shajra, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available records it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties. 3105/CS930a 36SYB699299
Original strike reports
No Coalition strikes reported.