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
Civilian Harm Status
Belligerent Assessment
Declassified Documents
Infrastructure

Incident Code

R4576

Incident date

October 5, 2023

Location

منطف, Mantef, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

On Thursday, October 5, 2023, an artillery shelling was allegedly carried out by the Syrian regime forces and/or Russian military on the village of Mantaf in the southern countryside of Idlib, reportedly killing at least one civilian, a woman later identified as Sulaf Abido.

The alleged attack was reported by the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) as well as the local media outlets, and a journalist, Ahmed Rahhal. Two Facebook users also circulated a list of the names of the identified victims of the attacks in Idlib, its countryside, and the western Aleppo countryside, including Sulaf Abido, who was the only reported victim of the attack in Mantaf.

One day after the alleged incident, on October 6, 2023, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) conveyed that the regime forces bombed the countryside of Aleppo and Idlib, corroborating the information shared by the majority of the sources regarding the attack in Mantaf village and conveying that the strike was attributed to the Syrian regime. An account on Facebook allegedly belonging to an individual, Omar Al Talawi, also suspected Russian militias. As of February 4, 2024, neither of the suspected belligerents has issued an official statement claiming their responsibility for the attack.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Sulaf Abido سلاف عبيدو
Age unknown female killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime, Russian Military

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Source: @globalJSN

Syrian Regime Assessment:

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

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime, Russian Military

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Incident Code

R4564

Incident date

October 4, 2023

Location

كفرنوران, Kafr Nouran, Aleppo, Syria

Airwars assessment

A missile strike killed at least five members of the same family, including three women, and wounded at least one more — all civilians — in Kafr Nouran, Aleppo after midnight on October 5, 2023. The strike was allegedly carried out by the Syrian regime and/or Russian military.

Zahraa Ali Karhou, an elderly crippled mother, was among the dead, along with four of her children. Her two adult daughters, Khadija Mustafa Tanna and Fatoum Mustafa Tanna, and two young sons, Faraj Mustafa Tanna and Ahmad Mustafa Tanna, were all killed in the strike, and another female sibling was injured.

The victims were an internally displaced family staying in a residential home, according to Syrian Civil Defense. The building was struck by missiles around 2 a.m., Al Quds reported, after which rescue teams transported the dead to a hospital, along with the wounded woman. Images posted by Al Quds also showed the funeral and burial of the victims.

Syrian Civil Defense reported five dead and one wounded, while Abu Obada Hamoe Post said the number of dead has risen to six, with “a number wounded.” A tweet from @creativenewssy provided a lower death count of two and identified three “serious” injuries.

Two anti-armor thermal rockets were used in the strike, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, who attributed the attack to the Syrian Regime. Others, including Khalil Al Yaseen Post, suggested Russian forces were responsible.

“Stunned, he does not know what happened, and how it happened,” @SyrianCivilDefe wrote on Twitter, describing a young surviving family member standing in front of the bodies. “One thing this child knows, he has known death and oppression since he was born…” Other images posted by the @SyrianCivilDefe show family members mourning over the bodies of those killed.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (5)

Zahraa Ali Karho زهرة علي كرهة
Adult female killed
Faraj Mustafa Tanna فرج مصطفى تنا
Adult male killed
Ahmad Mustafa Tanna أحمد مصطفى تنا
Adult male killed
Khadija Mustafa Tanna خديجة مصطفى تنا
Adult female killed
Fatoum Mustafa Tanna فطوم مصطفى تنا
Adult female killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 6
  • (3 women2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (16) [ collapse]

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    Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: Aljazeera news
  • Source: Syria tv news
  • Source: Alquds news
  • Source: Alquds news
  • Source: Alquds news
  • Source: Alquds news
  • Source: Alquds news
  • Source: Sarmen al yaom
  • Source: Sarmen al yaom
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    Source: Abo obada hamoe
  • Source: SNHR news
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Russian Military Assessment:

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

Syrian Regime Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 6
  • (3 women2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–3
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Incident Code

R4563

Incident date

October 4, 2023

Location

سرمين, Sarmin, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

At least one civilian, a young girl, was killed and between six and eight others, including three children and two women, were injured by alleged Syrian regime and/or Russian and/or Iranian artillery strikes on the al-Shamali neighborhood in the city of Sarmin on October 4th, 2023.

The @SyriaCivilDefe reported that a girl was killed and six other civilians (two female children, a female infant, two women, and a man) were injured by missile strikes against civilian homes, the Grand Mosque, and the fence of a school playground, adding that their volunteers transported the injured to hospitals and inspected the affected area. According to @mzmgr941, the bombing occurred while the children were leaving school. Journalist @Jamil_Alhasaan reported that in addition to the death of a girl, eight others were injured while Fresh News put the injury toll at seven.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights identified the girl killed as Layla Ahmad al-Masri. In a video posted by @SyriaCivilDefe, a young girl can be heard saying “Uncle, I want my sister… but I want my sister… help her for my sister” as she is looking for her sister Layla who was killed. A video posted by @Gurbtwatan shows Layla’s father mourning the loss of his daughter and crying.

An image posted by El Mohrar provided the names of those killed and injured written on a Syrian American Medical Society paper: Faten Asban, 40 years, old injury in her foot; Ibrahim Wazaz, 20 years old, injury in his foot; Limar Abo Saloura, infant, many bruises; Sham Abo Saloura, 12 years old, injury in her foot; Amina Taher Shaar, 30 years old, injury in her back; Sundus Sarmini, 12 years old, injury in her back.

Journalist @MohamadDaba9966 with Sama TV reported that the shelling occurred “after reconnaissance aircraft monitored crowds of militants moving with their vehicles”. However, no militants were killed in the strike.

While the majority of sources attributed the shelling to the Syrian regime, @alking14399969 blamed Russian forces while @in_sham_hhashm referred to the incident as the “Russian-Iranian bombing”.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Limar Abo Saloura ليمار أبو سلورة
Child Infant injured
Sham Abo Saloura شام أبو سلورة
12 years old female injured

The victims were named as:

Layla Ahmad Masri ليلى أحمد مصري
Child female killed
Faten Asban فاتن عصبان
40 years old female injured
Ibrahim Wazaz ابراهيم وزاز
20 years old male injured
Amina Taher Shaar أمينة طاهر شعار
30 years old female injured
Sundus Sarmini سندس سرميني
12 years old female injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Religious Institution, School
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    6–8
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Education
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime, Iranian Military

Sources (47) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (35) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
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    Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
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    Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
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    Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
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    Source: SNHR news
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    Layla Ahmad Masri, killed on October 4, 2023. Source: @Gurbtwatan
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    Source: @Marea_Elshame
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    Source: @mzmgr941
  • Source: @in_sham_hhashm
  • Source: @in_sham_hhashm
  • Source: @in_sham_hhashm
  • Source: @in_sham_hhashm
  • Source: @1SyriaNews
  • Source: Moharar
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Russian Military Assessment:

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

Syrian Regime Assessment:

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

Iranian Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Religious Institution, School
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    6–8
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Education
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime, Iranian Military

Sources (47) [ collapse]

Incident Code

R4562

Incident date

October 3, 2023

Location

سرمين, Outskirts of Sarmin, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

On October 3rd, 2023, a man and a woman, Mohammed Sadek and Asoum Nahbhan were injured by alleged Syrian regime and/or Russian artillery shelling in the outskirts of Sarmin in the eastern countryside of Idlib. Asoum Nahbahn was reportedly moderately injured in the flank while Mohammed Sadek’s injury was described as slight.

The belligerent’s identity is contested, with some sources naming the Syrian regime forces, other sources the Russian military, and some naming both jointly. One Twitter/X post said the artillery shellings came from Assad’s forces “stationed at the surrounding checkpoints”.

Artillery shells reportedly touched the vicinity of the “Hussein Haj Aboud” primary school during official teaching hours. Baladi news reported that teachers had to end classes immediately after the incident for safety reasons and that the artillery shelling “created a great state of terror among the students and families.” The news correspondent claimed that while civilians at the school hadn’t been physically impacted, the external walls were damaged.

Several images taken by the Syrian Civil Defence show civilian homes affected by the attack, with some parts being demolished. Photos also show a tractor which allegedly caught on fire due to the artillery shells. Moreover, a gas station and a car dealership office were reportedly damaged by the incident.

Syrian Civil Defence intervened on the same day. According to two Twitter/X posts, the two injured were transferred to a hospital in Idlib.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Mohammed Sadek محمد صادق
Age unknown male injured
Asoum Nahbhan أسوم نبهان
Age unknown female injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture, School
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Education,Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime, Russian Military

Sources (29) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (27) [ collapse]

  • Source: @AlTareek22
  • Source: @A_H_M_A_D50
  • Source: @A_H_M_A_D50
  • Source: @A_H_M_A_D50
  • Source: @A_H_M_A_D50
  • Source: @Ahmad_1alshble
  • Source: @Najdat567
  • Source: @Najdat567
  • Source: @Najdat567
  • Source: @Najdat567
  • Source: @creativenewssy
  • Source: @creativenewssy
  • Source: @creativenewssy
  • Source: @VedengAgency1
  • Source: @VedengAgency1
  • Source: @VedengAgency1
  • Source: @VedengAgency1
  • Source: @nbraas_08
  • Source: @syrianewsag
  • Source: @OrientNews
  • Source: Baladi news
  • Source: @aljazeeramubashe news
  • Source: Sarmin
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Syrian Regime Assessment:

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

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture, School
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Education,Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime, Russian Military

Sources (29) [ collapse]

Incident Code

R4560

Incident date

September 25, 2023

Location

جسر الشغور, city of Jisr Al Shughour, western Idlib, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

On Monday evening, 25 September 2023, between seven and 10 civilians, including two children and up to four women (one of whom was pregnant), were injured in missile strikes and artillery shelling allegedly by Syrian regime forces and/or Russian forces and/or Iranian forces on residential neighborhoods, the popular market and near the mosque in the city of Jisr al-Shughur in the western countryside of Idlib, northwest Syria.

Initial reportage from the Syrian Civil Defence (the White Helmets) stated that seven civilians were injured, including two children and two women, in “a missile strike by regime forces….this evening, Monday, September 25”, adding that their teams “treated a number of injured and inspected” the damaged areas. This version of events was corroborated by multiple local news media and social media including Syria News Agency and Shaam News, with the latter adding that the alleged bombing occurred “in light of the continued bombing operations today by the regime and its allies on the areas of rural Idlib and Aleppo”, and multiple sources claiming that heavy artillery shells were used. Sources on social media, Duraid Haj Hammoud and @alking14399969 shared the names of the seven injured – Tamim Muhammad Gharibawi (70), Saif Al-Din Muhammad (32), Wael Sheikh Mohammed (48), Ibrahim Ahmed Halabi (5), Bassam Mustafa Fustuk (17), Ruqaya Abdel Hamid Marzouk (20), and Hanaa Hassan Khalilo (50) – with Duraid stating that “all injuries were minor, thank God.” The White Helmets later updated the civilian casualty toll to 10 wounded, stating the toll from the artillery shelling “of regime forces….rose to 10 wounded, including two children and four women, one of whom is pregnant.” A video shared by the White Helmets with the caption “Bodies pierced by fragments of death shells, painted in blood and ash, a new story of Syrian oppression” showed a weeping child, possibly Ibrahim, in a bloodied yellow shirt with his wounded forehead being stitched up by medical workers, an elderly wounded man in a state of shock being assisted by emergency workers, and the rubble, damaged buildings and vehicles in the aftermath of the bombardment. Sources widely shared images of the wounded, the damage caused to infrastructure, and images of the smoke and debris from the bombardment rising near the golden domed mosque in Idlib.

Anadolu Agency quoted sources from within the White Helmets alleging that “Jisr al-Shughour was subjected to ground bombardment by the regime” forces and allegedly Iranian-backed groups stationed in Jurin, northwest of Hama Governorate, adding that the wounded were treated in hospitals nearby. The Jisr al-Shughour Media Center stated that there were several injuries, and “damage to a water transport vehicle” as a result of artillery shelling, and alleged that the source of the shelling were “regime forces stationed in the Jurin camp in the al-Ghab Plain.” A source on X/Twitter, @MohamadDaba9966, claimed that the bombardment was a response to alleged attacks on towns in the al-Ghab Plain, and was reportedly aimed at alleged Turkestan Islamic Party militants within Jisr al-Shughur. Another source, @hadikhraat, shared images of a fire damaged vehicle with water tanks, stating that there was a partial fire in the truck that was “designated for transporting water”, and that it was damaged “in conjunction with a reconnaissance aircraft flight” as a result of artillery bombardment.

Where sources identified a belligerent, most sources attributed the bombardment to Syrian Regime Forces, and as having originated from Jurin in the al-Ghab Plain. However, a few sources attributed the attack to Russian forces and Iranian forces.

The incident occured in the evening.

The victims were named as:

Tamim Muhammad Gharibawi تميم محمد غريباوي
70 years old injured
Saif Al-Din Muhammad سيف الدين محمد
32 years old injured
Wael Sheikh Mohammed وائل الشيخ محمد
48 years old injured
Ibrahim Ahmed Halabi إبراهيم أحمد حلبي
5 years old injured
Bassam Mustafa Fistak بسام مصطفى فستق
17 years old injured
Ruqaya Abdel Hamid Marzouk رقية عبد الحميد مرزوق
20 years old injured
Hanaa Hassan Khalilo هناء حسن خليلو
50 years old injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Marketplace, Water station
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    7–10
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime, Iranian Military

Sources (33) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (20) [ collapse]

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    Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
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    Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
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    Source: @Marea_Elshame
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    Source: @Hamoudi_Free_Sy
  • Source: @Mohammed78990
  • Source: @Mohammed78990
  • Source: @hadikhraat
  • Source: Abdo R Aliko
  • Source: Abdo R Aliko
  • Source: Abdo R Aliko
  • Source: Duraid Haj Hammoud
  • Source: Arabic press
  • Source: Arabic press
  • Source: Aa news
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Russian Military Assessment:

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

Syrian Regime Assessment:

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

Iranian Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Marketplace, Water station
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    7–10
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime, Iranian Military

Sources (33) [ collapse]

Incident Code

R4558

Incident date

September 24, 2023

Location

كنصفرة, Kansafra, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

At least one civilian was seriously injured in the village of Kansafra as a result of artillery shelling allegedly by the Russian Military and/or Syrian regime forces on September 24, 2023.

According to Syrian Civil Defense, a farmer was seriously injured by the strikes while he was working in the fig harvest. Additionally, the Civil Defense team mobilized him in an ambulance to the nearest hospital.

Sources were conflicted as to who was responsible for the shelling, with some sources attributing the bombardment to the Syrian regime forces while others blamed the Russian military forces. @syr_television added that both heavy artillery and missiles were part of the attack on Kansafra.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Syrian Regime Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

R4557

Incident date

September 23, 2023

Location

سرمين, Outskirts of Sarmin, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

During the evening of September 23, 2023, a missile strike killed two civilians (one elderly man and one woman) and injured two others (a child in critical condition and a man) in a displacement camp in the outskirts of Sarmin, east of the city of Idlib in northwest Syria. In a Facebook post by the Syrian Civil Defense, the nephew of one of the victims confirmed the identity of the two killed and the two injured: Muhammad al-Qahit, who was “nearly 100 years old” (with some sources saying 90 years old), and his granddaughter Hanan were killed. The two injured are identified in the same post as Muhammad’s grandson Hussein al-Qahit and great-grandson Zaid. The ages of Hanan, Hussein and Zaid are unknown.

The belligerent’s identity is contested. Most sources attributed the strike to the Russian military and/or to the Syrian regime forces. One source designated “Iranian occupiers” and another one Syrian militias loyal to the regime as perpetrators of the deadly attack.

As a result of the missile strike, parts of the camp caught fire. Muhammad al-Qahit’s nephew, who survived, described the attack as “a very harsh night for us, between death, wounds, fires, and screams.”

A video posted on Twitter/X by AlJazeera Arabic shows the intervention of the Syrian Civil Defence after the bombing, where tents and other parts of the camp on fire are visible. The organisation then tweeted that they were able to treat the injured, recover the bodies of the two victims and extinguish fire in the camp. Images posted by @ShaamNetwork and other local sources show destruction to the camp, including the tents of displaced persons.

In the Syrian Civil Defence Facebook post, Muhammad’s nephew Muhammad Al-Hamad Al-Qahit who survived the attack said: “I lost him and I lost the sessions that used to bring us together and the stories that he told us.” He added that his uncle had “great hopes that we would return to our village” of Abu Maru, a neighbouring village of Hama (west-central Syria).

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (4)

Muhammad al-Qahit محمد القحيط
90 years old male killed
Hussein Al-Qahit حسين القحيط
Adult male injured
Hanan
female killed
Zaid
Child male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime, Russian Military

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (27) [ collapse]

  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: @AZAM_1989
  • Source: @Mohammed78990
  • Source: @ShaamNetwork
  • Source: @ShaamNetwork
  • Source: @ShaamNetwork
  • Source: @ShaamNetwork
  • Source: @Freundlichkeitt
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: @Freundlichkeitt
  • Source: SyriaCivilDefense
  • Source: SyriaCivilDefense
  • Source: SyriaCivilDefense
  • Source: SyriaCivilDefense
  • Source: Sermen.yo.hal99
  • Source: @HalabTodayTV
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

Syrian Regime Assessment:

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

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime, Russian Military

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Incident Code

R4559

Incident date

September 23, 2023

Location

سرمين, Sarmin, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

On the night of September 23, 2023, in Sarmin, Idlib, an incident with contested responsibility—reportedly either by Syrian regime forces or the Russian military—struck an agricultural area, injuring a civilian man, which was confirmed by multiple sources including the White Helmets organization.

The civilian injured was reportedly a farmer who was picking figs in a residential area, when the projectiles struck. The strike was attributed to have been from the Syrian regime or the Russian military. It is contested whether it was a rocket bombing, missile strike, or artillery shelling by different local news sources on Twitter. The White Helmets of the Syrian Civil Defense were photographed helping the injured civilian, and they reported his injuries as minor superficial injuries and followed up with him. However, @AsharqNewsSYR identified the farmer’s injuries as “serious”.

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: @SyriaCivilDefe
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Binnish888

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Syrian Regime Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian infrastructure
    Agriculture
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Impact
    Food
    Impact on services or infrastructure relating to education, health or food supply. See methodology note for details.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime

Sources (5) [ collapse]