On the first night of US airstrikes in Syria, the United States carried out a sequence of attacks on the Al Qaeda-affiliated Khorasan Group (part of the al-Nusra Front.) For the only recorded occasion during the allied air war, the US deployed Tomahawk cruise missiles to strike targets in the vicinity of Aleppo. Locals also reported what they described as US combat aircraft participating. Up to fifteen civilians died in the strikes, along with “a large number of mujahideen” according to one Al Qaeda-linked militant at the scene.
Eyewitnesses told SN4HR that all of the civilian deaths occurred when a house collapsed: “The huge pressure from the explosion caused the collapse of a two-storied residential house near the Nusra Front target, less than 100 m from it. This caused the death of 12 people, all civilians, including five children and five women.” SN4HR later added a 13th fatality to its lists.
The civilian victims were later named by various sources.
After examining video evidence of apparent US cruise missile fragments at the village, Human Rights Watch later said that the strikes “should be investigated for possible violations of the laws of war.”
Buzzfeed also spoke with two eyewitnesses to the attack, with one noting: “What we saw with our own eyes was unreal — the [civilian] houses were completely gone. Our job was to collect the body parts. The worst thing was the children. It’s still in my mind.”
An internal CENTCOM investigation into alleged civilian deaths swiftly concluded “No further inquiry required,” it was revealed a year later. This was in part based on an assessment that “Open source images presented as casualties from the strikes actually came from previous GoS [Government of Syria] strikes.”
Airwars has since examined all known published images relating to the Kafr Daryan event. As our Syria researcher Kinda Haddad notes, “Every picture but one we are aware of first appears on 23rd September 2014, and in connection with Kafr Daryan.”
The one known exception is a picture which first appeared as a tweet on September 2nd, after a child was killed by the Assad regime. Shortly after the Kafr Daryan attack some three weeks later, that same image was claimed in English by at least one site to have been taken at Kafr Daryan.
However even a rudimentary search by CENTCOM would have identified multiple photographs and videos relating to September 23rd itself. Even when investigators noted new evidence on the strike from the Syrian Network for Human Rights in April 2015, this did not appear to trigger any new inquiry.
The local time of the incident is unknown.