Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

ISSY008

Incident date

December 21–22, 2019

Location

المنطقة الواقعة بين سات زينب وعقربا, Area between Sat Zaynab and Aqraba, Rural Damascus, Syria

Geolocation

33.437222, 36.361828 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

At least three people were killed in alleged Israeli strikes between Sayyida Zainab and Aqraba on December 21-22, 2019. Sources are conflicted as to whether those killed were militants or civilians.

Local sources reported that Israeli missiles – either launched from a ship in the Mediterranean or via an airstrike – landed on the Sayyeda Zainab area of rural Damascus on December 21st-22nd, 2019, killing General ‘Haj Ali’, who was believed to be a leader in the ranks of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, and his entire family. The Iranian Fars News Agency, however, denied reports that General Haj Ali had been killed.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that “Israeli missile strikes south of the capital Damascus, killed at least three people of non-Syrian nationalities, where they are likely to be Iranians who were killed by fall of a rocket on the area between Sayyida Zainab and Aqraba south of the capital Damascus yesterday evening, and information about more casualties were reported.” However, this source did not specify if those killed were militants or civilians.

The Times of Israel also identified three people killed in the strikes, referring to them as “non-Syrian fighters”.

According to Step News, “The local (Ein Al Furat) network, which specializes in Iranian affairs in Syria, also mentioned that the targeting resulted in the killing of General Haj Ali, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia, and his entire family, as a result of a missile from the Israeli warship that targeted his house in Al Sayyeda Zainab neighbourhood in Damascus countryside.”

However, Sputnik Arabic wrote that the Iranian press agency Fars News had denied claims that General Haj Ali had been killed in strikes: “General Ali Hajizadeh is in good situation, and the news that he was killed is pure lies. The news that Haji Zadeh was killed in an Israeli raid on Syria yesterday is a rumour that was reported by some malicious Arab media, and it was re-published on social media via opposition channels.”

Fars News furthermore posted photos that were allegedly showing General Ali Haj attending Friday prayers on December 27th, 2019. Many articles have quoted General Hajizadeh since the alleged incident, including a profile done by the Middle East Eye that refers to him as the “Iran’s drone mastermind” and “the new Soleimani”.

There was no immediate comment from Israel, who told Fox News they don’t comment on foreign media reports of airstrikes.

The incident occured between 10:00 pm and 1:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Naval bombardment
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Israeli Military
  • Suspected target
    Iranian military
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–3

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Several sources reported that General "Haj Ali", commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, was killed in alleged Israeli strikes on Sayyeda Zainab area in the night of December 21st-22nd, 2019 (via Ain Al Furat).
  • Despite reports that General Haj Ali was killed in alleged Israeli airstrikes on the night of December 21st to the 22nd, 2019, the Iranian press agency Fars News reported that the General was alive, publishing photos of the General attending Friday prayer on December 27th (via Fars).
  • Despite reports that General Haj Ali was killed in alleged Israeli airstrikes on the night of December 21st to the 22nd, 2019, the Iranian press agency Fars News reported that the General was alive, publishing photos of the General attending Friday prayer on December 27th (via Fars).

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the area between Sat Zaynab (السيدة زينب) and Aqriba (عقربا), in the southern countryside of Damascus (دمشق). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates between these two points are: 33.437222, 36.361828.

  • Reports of the incident mention the area between Sat Zaynab (السيدة زينب) and Aqriba (عقربا), in the southern countryside of Damascus (دمشق).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

Israeli Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Israeli Military
  • Israeli Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Naval bombardment
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Israeli Military
  • Suspected target
    Iranian military
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–3

Sources (24) [ collapse]