Turkish Military in Iraq & Syria

An internally displaced Kurdish family in northern Iraq, 2016 (Maranie R. Staab)

Belligerent
Turkish military
Country
Iraq
Syria
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

TS070

Incident date

January 31, 2017

Location

الباب, Al Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.371972, 37.51631 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Between three and six people were reportedly killed in Turkish bombardment of Al Bab, Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported: “While three people were killed, including a woman, by bombing and shelling by the Turkish forces and warplanes on areas in Tedef town and Al Bab city in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo which is controlled by the ‘Islamic State’ organization.”

Asharq Alarabi reported a higher number: “In the governorate of Aleppo, 15 people were killed, eight of them in the shelling of the towns of Tedef, Al Bureij and Al Bab in the governorate’s countryside.”

LCCSY only said that ten civilians died due to Turkish shelling in the Aleppo area with the majority of them around Al Bab.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    3–6
  • (1 woman)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    3–6
  • (1 woman)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS420 TS030

Incident date

December 23, 2016

Location

الباب, Al-Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.371972, 37.51631 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Between 20 and 25 civilians died in a Turkish (or less likely Coalition) raid on al Bab.

According to ISIS’s media wing, “Turkish planes committed a new massacre in al Bab for the second day running – initial toll of 20 dead.”

Umayya reported the death toll as being possibly even higher than 25: “The number of people killed in Turkish airstrikes on the city of Bab on Friday rose to more than 25, mostly civilians, including seven children and ten women, including four families killed in the rubble of their homes, in addition to dozens of injuries.”

Graphic images posted on social media showed several slaim children.

LCCSY was the only source to attribute the attack to the US-led Coalition. In an emailed response to a report submitted by Airwars on this and other incidents in December 2016, Coalition officials said the event was presently assessed as ‘Not credible for Coalition caused civcas.’ It also stated that “After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area of the reported civilian casualties.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (8)

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    20–25
  • (3–7 children3–10 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–24
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Tweet saying more than 75 civilians killed in al Bab in alleged Turkish raids and reports that daesh is preventing civilians from leaving. 23rd December 2016. (via salam_alfraty2)
  • 20 civilians reported killed in alleged Turkish strikes on al Bab. 23rd December 2016. (via Kalmuqdad)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of children killed in alleged Turkish strikes on al bab. 23rd December 2016. (via Khaled_qahtan)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of children killed in alleged Turkish strikes on al bab. 23rd December 2016. (via Khaled_qahtan)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of children killed in alleged Turkish strikes on al bab. 23rd December 2016. (via Khaled_qahtan)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible
    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
  • Stated location
    near Al Bab, Syria
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Aug 4, 2017
  • After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area of the reported civilian casualties.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For December 22nd-24th the Coalition publicly reported no strikes in Aleppo governorate.

United Kingdom
  • English
    /
    Original

‘Friday 23 December – Typhoons bombed a terrorist position north of Tabaqah in Syria; in Iraq, Tornados hit a weapons cache north-east of Haditha, and a Reaper destroyed an artillery gun near Mosul…The next day [Dec 23rd], Typhoon FGR4s, armed with Paveway IV guided bombs, patrolled over Syria and successfully attacked a terrorist position which SDF fighters had encountered to the north of Tabaqah, near Lake Assad. In Iraq, Tornados used Paveway IVs to destroy a weapons stockpile some 50 miles north-east of Haditha, whilst a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft assisted the Iraqi operations in Mosul; its crew conducted a thorough check for civilians who might be at risk before a successful coalition air strike destroyed another weapons stockpile. The Reaper then delivered an attack using one of its own Hellfire missiles to destroy an artillery piece loaded on a trailer – as with the tank, the terrorists had attempted to hide the gun under a tarpaulin in thick woodland to the north-west of the city, but to no avail.’

Denmark
  • English
    /
    Original

Danske øjne styrer fly sikkert gennem Irak og Syrien “Hvis man forestiller sig at skulle lande i en lufthavn eller flyve, hvor flyvelederne sidder med lukkede øjne, så har man situationen, hvis vores radar ikke snurrede rundt.” 23-12-2016 – kl. 11:00 Af radarbidraget og ACW I en amerikansk enhed arbejder et mindre radarbidrag fra Flyvevåbnet, hvor de holder styr på luftrummet over Irak og Syrien i kampen mod ISIL. Kingpin bliver kontrolcentralen kaldt, hvorfra det amerikanske flyvevåbens 727th Expeditionary Air Control Squadron sammen med både australiere, englændere og danskere er øjne, øre og guidende hænder for flytrafikken. 24 timer i døgnet holder de øje med luftrummet over Afghanistan, den Arabiske Gulf, Irak og Syrien. De danske udsendte fra Flyvevåbnets Air Control Wing koncentrerer sig om Irak og Syrien og går under kaldenavnet Gotham, hvor de blandt andet anvender den danske radar på Al Asad Airbase i Irak, som er en del af det samlede danske radarbidrag. Men de trækker også på en række andre radarer, radioer og overvågningsfly, så der konstant kan produceres et opdateret luftbillede, så flyene kan blive støttet i deres missioner. – Vi er et relativt lille bidrag på i alt cirka 30 mand med operatører og radarteknikere, men effekten af bidraget er enormt. Hvis man forestiller sig at skulle lande i en lufthavn eller flyve, hvor flyvelederne sidder med lukkede øjne, så har man situationen, hvis vores radar ikke snurrede rundt, siger chefen for radarbidraget, oberstløjtnant Kim Krogh.’

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    20–25
  • (3–7 children3–10 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–24
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS007 CS371

Incident date

November 13, 2016

Location

مدينة الباب, Al Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.371972, 37.51631 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

One or two civilians were reported killed and three injured in ‘Coalition’ strikes on Al Bab. However, other reports claimed that Turkey and its FSA allies may have been responsible.

Sky News reported that Turkish tanks were advancing on Al Bab, while France 24 described Turkish airstrikes on the city. Reporting casualties, Halab News said “an unidentified man and woman were killed, following coalition raids on al Bab and they are civilians from the town.”

All 4 Syria said that both the Coalition and Turkey conducted strikes on the city: “Extensive Turkish air strikes in Al Bab destroyed four buildings and a car used by IS while coalition carried out six airstrikes and killed ten IS fighters. However, Al Amaq reported the death of a civilian and three others wounded due to Turkish tank bombardment.”

ISIS’s media wing also reported civilian casualties, initially noting “one dead and three civilians injured – one of them in a critical condition – following Turkish artillery bombardment of the city of Al Bab in the Aleppo countryside.” It also reported US airstrikes alongside Turkish artillery attacks.

In August 2017 the US-led alliance denied responsibility for the event, stating: “After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area of the reported civilian casualties.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1–2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Turkish Armed Forces, US-led Coalition

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible
    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
  • Stated location
    near Al Bab, Syria
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Aug 4, 2017
  • After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area of the reported civilian casualties.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For November 12th-13th, the Coalition reported no strikes in Aleppo governorate.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1–2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Turkish Armed Forces, US-led Coalition

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS033

Incident date

December 28, 2016

Location

الباب, Al Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.371972, 37.51631 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Al Bab Al Hadath reported that Qadro Al-Jadeed and his family were killed in a Turkish airstrike “a few days ago” on December 31st.

There is currently no more information available.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Qadro Al-Jadeed Adult male

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    2–4
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    2–4
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI009

Incident date

September 20, 2017

Location

شمال العراق, North of Iraq, Iraq

Geolocation

36.915000, 44.041944 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Province/governorate level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Province/governorate

Airwars assessment

Local media reported that the Turkish air force had bombed sites belonging to the Kurdistan Workers’ Party in north Iraq – though there was no information available on civilian harm as a result of these actions.

RT reported that “the Turkish army said on Thursday that the shelling hit targets in the mountainous regions of Zab, Afashin and Baysan in northern Iraq, close to the border with Turkey. The army gave no further details on the timing of the strike or targets, but confirmed that all the aircraft had returned safely.”

According to Alrafdain, “The Turkish Air Force announced that the Turkish planes bombed the camps of the Workers ‘Party militia. This resulted in the destruction of weapons and ammunition stores as part of the Turkish forces’ campaign in south and south-eastern Turkey and northern Iraq.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS022

Incident date

December 14, 2016

Location

الباب, Al Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.369073, 37.499594 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

Several sources reported the targeting of civilian infrastructure by Turkish warplanes in Al Bab, Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights wrote: “Turkish warplanes targeted the national hospital in the city of Bab in the north-eastern Aleppo countryside with several strikes, which is controlled by the Islamic State. No information about casualties so far.”

Khaled Shaban reported something similar on Twitter.

The ISIS news outlet Al A’amaq claimed that the hospital was hit by three strikes.

Step News said there were “deaths and injuries” but didn’t elaborate if they were civilians.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0–2
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–2
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0–2
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–2
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS065 RS1865

Incident date

January 27, 2017

Location

جب مخزوم , Jeb Makhzoum, Aleppo , Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.431667, 37.744167 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Seven civilians from one family were reportedly killed in alleged Turkish or Russian airstrikes or artillery shelling on Jeb Makhzoum near Al Arima.

The Syrian Obseratory for Human Rights said it “learned that a man was killed along with his wife and five of their children who are under the age of eighteen. They were killed when warplanes bombed the outskirts of Al Arima, which is located about 20 km to the northeast of Al Bab city in the northeastern countryside of Aleppo. It is not known whether the warplanes were Russian or Turkish.”

Syria News Desk agreed on the casualty numbers and provided more information on the location of the strike: “Seven civilians from one family were killed and others injured this morning by Turkish artillery shelling of the village of Jeb Makhzoum under the control of the Islamic State Organization, located south of the town of Al Arima, controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The media activist Anas al-Khatib, quoting a civilian source from Al Arima, told the Syrian News Agency that the Turkish artillery targeted the village with more than 11 shells, which fell on houses in the center of the village, killing a whole family consisting of the father and his wife and their five children. Others were taken to a hospital in the city of Ta’ad, in addition to the total destruction of two houses, partial destruction of two other houses and substantial damage to other property.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    7
  • (5 children1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–5
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Turkish Armed Forces, Russian Armed Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    7
  • (5 children1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–5
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    Turkish Armed Forces, Russian Armed Forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS343 TS005C

Incident date

October 18, 2016

Location

حساجك, Hassadjek, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.3960003, 37.2467422 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

At least 6 people were killed by airstrikes in the vicinity of Hassadjek village in Aleppo, though the circumstances were unclear.

Initially, Voice of Kurdistan blamed the US-led Coalition for a strike occurring around 3am, which it said left six people dead and four wounded.

The Russian Ministry of Defense said that Russian and Syrian government aircraft were not operating in the vicinity, but in a statement claimed that “Aircraft of the international coalition were performing tasks near Hassajek village at night on October 18. Air situation control systems have detected two F-16 of the Air Force of the Kingdom of Belgium at the specified time and area.” This report was quickly picked up by the Russian press, including RT.

The accusation led to a spat with Belgian authorities, who denied that their planes were involved or were nearby. In a tweet, the country’s Minister of Defense called Moscow’s assertion “Russian disinformation.” The Minister also denied the Russian account to the Belgian parliament. A spokeswoman for the Belgian ministry additionally told Airwars that “we did not fly there yesterday, nor the days before.”

A spokesperson for the Coalition told Airwars that “Contrary to what Russian media reported, there is no evidence of this incident, nor were any Belgian aircraft conducing kinetic operations at the time.”

The incident became further confused after Turkey announced it had carried out strikes on Kurdish militants in numerous locations north of Aleppo on the night of October 19th-20th. As the Syrian Observatory noted regarding the Hassadjek strikes, at the time “factions supported by Turkish warplanes and tanks,” as well as the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces and ISIL were all present and engaged in the area. Other local outlets, including Smart News and Izaz Media Center reported that the Syrian Democratic Forces had gained control of Hassadjek.

Among the strikes carried out on the 19th-20th, Bellingcat was able to geolocate one “very close to the village of Hassadjek,” which it noted was “the location where Russia accused Belgium of killing six civilians” on the morning of the 18th.

On October 21st, Russia called for Belgium to set up an investigation into the incident.

The incident occured at approximately 3:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    6
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Translation: Belgium is not involved in civilian deaths Aleppo. Russian disinformation. (via Steven Vandeput - Belgium Defence Minister)
  • Analysis by Bellingcat geolocated a number of Turkish airstrikes within the vicinity of Hassadjek for the date in question.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For October 17th-18th the Coalition reported “Near Mar’a, four strikes engaged four ISIL tactical units and destroyed two fighting positions and a vehicle.” For October 18th-19th the Coalition reported “Near Mar’a, one strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit.” In a statement to Airwars, the Coalition said that “there were no Belgian aircraft conducting strike operations at the time.

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    6
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (14) [ collapse]