Russian Military in Syria

A Russian combat aircraft at Khmeimim airbase in Syria being prepared for action. (Russian Ministry of Defence)

Belligerent
Russian military
Country
Syria
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Contested
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

RS017

Incident date

October 4, 2015

Location

غرناطة, Gharnata, Homs, Syria

Geolocation

34.8937633, 36.6794443 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were reported killed following an airstrike on Gharnata near Talbiseh city, in Homs governorate.

While some sources attributed the attack to Russian aircraft, the Assad regime also reported carrying out strikes in the vicinity, with state news agency SANA reporting that “the Air Force destroyed nests and mechanisms for terrorist organizations… in the countryside of Homs.” Smart News said the attack was carried out by regime helicopters dropping barrel bombs.

VDC and Talbiseh News both reported that a shepherd was killed at Gharnata on October 4th “due to Russian forces shelling.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Footage showing the body of the victim Ahmad al Musa killed in the strike on Gharnata, October 4th 2015. (via, Talibisah News)

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Russian Armed Forces

The Kremlin made no mention of strikes in Homs governorate between October 3rd-5th 2015.

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Syrian Regime Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS020 CS133

Incident date

October 6, 2015

Location

عندان, Anadan, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.29353, 37.04466 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Two children and a 46 year old male were reported killed during four alleged Russian strikes in the evening on Anadan. Another man was also named as a victim by VDC. Eyewitnesses described at least one secondary, or ‘double tap’ strike.

A local medic told Qassioun: “Between the afternoon and evening Russian planes carried out intensive raids on areas in the northern Aleppo countryside which led to dozens of injured and three deaths. One of the martyrs is a ten year old boy, a young man of 17 years old and a 40 year old man. The injuries are very serious.”

Smart TV showed footage of Russian aircraft which it said was filmed near Aleppo: “Spotted at 17:30 in the evening, for the first time, one of the Russian planes in the sky of the city of Aleppo on their way to carry out raids on the villages and towns of the countryside.”

And Ibrahim Kharfan, a rebel in the town, insisted only civilian areas were being targeted: “The Russians are claiming, along with the regime and all those supporting this rotten regime they are claiming they are targeting [military] bases. We are here in Anadan and everything you see here is civilian houses. All the bombing now is being directed at civilians’ houses.”

While there was near consensus that Russia was responsible, VDC continues to list both boys as having been killed in a US-led Coalition strike.

In their January 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 strikes were conducted in the geographical area at the time.

The incident occured at 5:30 pm local time.

  • Mohammad Amin al-Sageer Adult male He was 46 years old and VDC says he was killed due to Russian strikes killed
  • Amin al-Sageer Adult male killed
  • Abd al-Rahman al-Sageer Child male He was 10 years old and VDC says he was killed due to coalition shelling killed
  • Ahmad Othman Hamidi Child male He was 17 years old and VDC says he was killed due to coalition shelling killed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 children2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, US-led Coalition

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • A video reporting four alleged Russian raids on the town of Anadan on, 6th October 2015. (via, The Syrian Civil Defence)
  • Footage reporting that Russian planes targeted Anadan in Aleppo for the first time, 6th October 2015. (via Arabs in Turkey)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The body of one of the children, Abed Al Rahman al Sageer, killed in the raid on Anadan, 6th October 2015. (via, VDC)
  • News bulletin reporting that 4 Russian raids on Anadan had caused deaths and injuries. One eyewitness reports that two brothers were killed in the raid. [Via: Al Aan news]

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Russian Armed Forces

Although Russia reported 20 combat sorties for October 6th 2015, no reference was made to strikes in Aleppo governorate. The Russian MoD also intimated that opposition forces were faking reports of civilian casualties: “It cannot be ruled out that now terrorists are intentionally preparing acts of provocation such as detonation of mosques in order to demonstrate fake photos and videos to indict the Russian aviation.”

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SCA244183
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jan 3, 2020
  • October 6, 2015, in Anadan, 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. 2851/CS133 37SCA244183

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 children2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, US-led Coalition

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS021 CS134

Incident date

October 6, 2015

Location

تدمر, Palmyra, Homs, Syria

Geolocation

34.5655244, 38.2873535 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

According to the Syrian Observatory, “preliminary information reported the death of civilians – including women and children – in the bombing by Russian warplanes on areas at the eastern outskirts of Palmyra city which is controlled by the ‘Islamic State’.”

According to most sources, between 12 and 14 members of two Bedouin families died, including five children and four women. Russian aircraft reportedly targeted the Al Wadi Al Ahmar [Red Valley] residential area in the east of the city.

The Violations Documentation Center said 15 civilian males were killed, though did not identify any by name. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights instead said 15 Daesh fighters died alongside civilians.

A Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson was quoted as saying “We do not hit populated areas .. especially those with antiquities” when asked whether Russia had carried out strikes at Palmyra. Repeated Russian strikes have since targeted the city according to reports.

It remains possible the action was instead by the US-led Coalition, which publicly reported airstrikes at Palmyra on October 1st, 4th, 9th and 10th 2015.

In their January 2020 civilian casualty report, the US-led Coalition assessed reports that they may have been responsible for civilian harm in this strike as “non-credible”, stating that no strikes were conducted in the geographical area at the time.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    12 – 15
  • (5 children4 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, US-led Coalition

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Interview with activist confirming that Russian strikes targeted Palmyra. No further details of any casualties, 6th October 2015. (via: Media office of the rebels of Syria)

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Russian Armed Forces

As noted above, Russia explicitly denied carrying out strikes at Palmyra. No Russian airstrikes were publicly reported in Homs governorate for October 6th 2015.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SDU346251
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jan 3, 2020
  • October 6, 2015, in Palmyra, 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. 2861/CS134 37SDU346251

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The Coalition did not report any strikes in Palmyra for October 5th-7th 2015.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    12 – 15
  • (5 children4 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, US-led Coalition

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS029

Incident date

October 8, 2015

Location

جسر الشغور, Jisr al Shughour, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.81425, 36.319812 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

One civilian was reported killed at Jisr al Shughour. However, the cause was contested. While VDC blamed the attack on Russian forces, Radio al Kul, SOHR and Qasioun blamed the death on “regime heavy artillery.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Marwan al Ahmad Adult male VDC reported him killed due to Russian strikes. killed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Russian Armed Forces

Russia reported a total of 22 lethal sorties for October 8th 2015, although made no mention of Idlib governorate.

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Syrian Regime Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS031

Incident date

October 9, 2015

Location

تل عاس, Telaas, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.4317743, 36.5892363 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A possible civilian was reported killed in an alleged Russian strike at Telaas near Khan Shaykhoun.

VDC named one adult male as a non-combatant victim. However, Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported only that “A fighter from a combat force was killed from wounds sustained after Russian planes targeted Brigade 13 in Telaas in southern Idlib countryside this afternoon.“

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Khaled al-Sousi Adult male VDC reported him killed in a strike on Telaas. He is originally from Khan Shaykhum and had been displaced to Telaas killed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Russian Armed Forces

Russia did not publicly report any strikes in Idlib governorate for October 9th-10th 2015: “In the course of the last 24 hours, the main objects for engagement were militants’ command and communication centres, ammunition depots, bases and training camps of terrorists in the Raqqah, Hamah, Damascus and Aleppo provinces.”

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS032

Incident date

October 9, 2015

Location

التمانعة, Al-Tamana’h, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.457626, 36.750314 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were reported killed in Al-Tamana’h. While the Violations Documentation Center attributed the deaths to Russian aircraft, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said they were killed as a result of actions by Syrian regime helicopters.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Russian Armed Forces

Russia did not publicly report any strikes in Idlib governorate for October 9th-10th 2015: “In the course of the last 24 hours, the main objects for engagement were militants’ command and communication centres, ammunition depots, bases and training camps of terrorists in the Raqqah, Hamah, Damascus and Aleppo provinces.”

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Syrian Regime Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS033

Incident date

October 9, 2015

Location

كفرنبودة, Kafr Nbouda, Hama, Syria

Geolocation

35.429388, 36.49078 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A combined air assault by Russian attack helicopters – coupled with an attack by Syrian regime aircraft and ground forces – reportedly killed four civilians at Kafr Nbouda. They were later named by the Violations Documentation Center.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (2 women2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Footage showing Russian raids on Kafr Nbouda, 9th October 2015.(via Baladi news)
  • Footage showing warplane raids on Kafr Nbouda. The voice over on the video says Russian but the notes below say that the two raids are now 'confirmed as regime', 9th October 2015. (via, Media Office for Northern Hama)

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Russian Armed Forces

Russia has confirmed carrying out strikes in Hama governorate for October 9th-10th 2015: “In the course of the last 24 hours, the main objects for engagement were militants’ command and communication centres, ammunition depots, bases and training camps of terrorists in the Raqqah, Hamah, Damascus and Aleppo provinces.” It also reported destroying “2 command centres; an ammunition depot in the Hamah province.”

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Syrian Regime Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (2 women2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS044

Incident date

October 15, 2015

Location

تلبيسة, Talbisah, Homs, Syria

Geolocation

34.840505, 36.72922 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Five civilians were killed in a heavy airstrike on Talbiseh, according to reports.

Most attributed the attack to Russia, though at least one local report said the strike was the work of Syrian regime aircraft.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (2 women4 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Faraj Al Naji, killed in an alleged Russian and Syrian regime raid on Talbisah, 15th October 2015. (via: VDC)

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Russian Armed Forces

Russia made no reference to strikes in Homs for October 15th-16th 2015, despite its aircraft clearly having been filmed in action in the governorate.

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Syrian Regime Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (2 women4 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]