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
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

RS064

Incident date

October 20, 2015

Location

الرهجان, Al Rahjan, Hama, Syria

Geolocation

35.40476, 37.42951 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

The VDC lists four unidentified civilian males as having been killed by “Russian air force shelling” at Al Rahjan in Hama. Other sourcing is weak, with the Syrian state news agency Sana attributing the attack to Assad regime aircraft, while Al Watan mentions only ‘aircraft.’

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • 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, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (3) [ 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

The Kremlin confirmed that “In the course of the last 24 hours, aircraft of the Russian air group in the Syrian Arab Republic have performed 46 combat sorties engaging 83 terrorist facilities in the Hama, Idlib, Damascus, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor provinces” for October 20th-21st 2015.

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • 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, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS062

Incident date

October 20, 2015

Location

كفر تخاريم, Kafr Takharim, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

36.1168, 36.51522 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A reported Russian airstrike on an empty school complex allegedly killed up to a dozen people, according to reports.

Reporting from Sarmin, Orient News reporter Abu Mahmoud described the event: “Russian occupation forces targeted the town of Sarmeen with steric missiles. The target was a children’s school.. they are two schools next to each other, a primary school and a secondary school. Luckily the children had gone home half an hour earlier.

There are elements of this description which match the previous event at Sarmin, and it appears this incident may have been confused with the former.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    12
  • Civilians reported injured
    10
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • A photo taken of twitter account @AEJkhalil. translation: School bombed by #Russia airstrikes today in #Kafr_Takharim, 12 martyrs & dozens were wounded.. #Idlib #Syria Oct 20

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 has confirmed carrying out strikes in Idlib governorate for October 20th-21st 2015: “In the course of the last 24 hours, aircraft of the Russian air group in the Syrian Arab Republic have performed 46 combat sorties engaging 83 terrorist facilities in the Hama, Idlib, Damascus, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor provinces.“

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    12
  • Civilians reported injured
    10
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS063

Incident date

October 20, 2015

Location

الرستن‬, Ar-Rastan, Homs, Syria

Geolocation

34.93, 36.74 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A number of civilians were reported injured, after a midnight Russian air raid on the headquarters of a local rebel faction based in Al Rastan. Two fighters were confirmed killed. one of whom was originally reported to have been a non-combatant.

According to Sin News, the air raid “resulted in the collapse of the entire headquarters and the killing of one person, as well as the injuring of nearby civilians and the collapse of residential buildings.”

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (6) [ 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

The Kremlin made no reference to strikes in Homs in its report for October 20th-21st 2015.

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (2 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS061

Incident date

October 20, 2015

Location

سرمين, Sarmin, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.904042, 36.726111 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Russian airstrikes killed at least 14 non-combatants according to multiple accounts.

The first strike at 1pm hit near a school and a field hospital in the town of Sarmin run by the Syrian-American Medical Society (SAMS.) A secondary strike or ‘double tap – captured on camera – shows an apparently deliberate attack on rescue workers clearing the streets.

Among the dead were a physiotherapist, a nurse and a ‘White Helmet’ civil defence worker Abdul Razak al-Aboud (see below.)

A witness named as ‘S M’ told the Syrian Network: “The first missile fell on a school and a hospital. The civil defense teams some paramedics and media activists rushed to the shelling site. The shelling caused material damages and some injures. However, 15 minutes later, another rocket was shelled in the exact same location. During the second shelling, I noticed a gleam like the camera’s flash and did not hear the plane’s sound. After that I felt that I was picked pushed upwards from the blasts’ power. Everything around me was white and dusty and I smell blood and gun powder. I thought that I had died. The attack resulted in the death of 17 individuals including civil defense members, paramedics and media activists.

Speaking to the Guardian, Dr Mohamed Tennari, the director of Sarmin hospital, “said his facility appeared to have been directly targeted and could no longer serve patients on one of the fiercest frontlines in the war.”

A Russian Defence Ministry spokesman brushed aside the allegations, claiming the Syrian-American Medical Society “has the same relation to medicine and doctors as the ISIL to the international Scouting movement.” However, an investigation by Amnesty International challenged satellite images which Russia said proved it had not targeted the field hospital: “Infrastructure that appears damaged or destroyed in footage immediately after the attack is seen intact in the satellite image presented by Russian authorities, indicating the satellite image is from before the attack.”

Four months after the event a man named by the VDC as Hsain Diab also died of injuries sustained in the attack.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Hsain Diab Adult male killed
  • Abdul Rahman Maari Adult male killed
  • Abdul Razak al-Aboud Adult male White Helmets rescuer killed
  • Musbah Qassas Adult male killed
  • Mazen Ismael Aaref Haj Ali Adult male killed
  • Mustafa Mohammad Burghosh Adult male killed
  • Dr Hasan Ahmad Taj Eddin Adult male psychotherapist killed
  • Abdul Kader Ebbo Adult male killed
  • Ziad Meteib Adult male killed
  • Khaldoun Mohammad Sawas Adult male hospital guard killed
  • Mohammad Mustafa Sawas Adult male killed
  • Mohammad Abdul Kader Sallura Adult male killed
  • Abdul Razak Abo Tair Adult male killed

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    14 – 17
  • (13 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    28–30
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (9) [ collapse]

  • A White Helmet camera captures moment of 'double tap' strike on Sarmeen, Oct 20th 2015 via White Helmets
  • An image that depicts the shelling aftermath on one of the targeted schools (via SN4HR)
  • an image that depicts the shelling aftermath on Sermeen makeshift hospital (via SN4HR)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    an image that depicts the injured members from the civil defense after they were targeted by alleged Russian warplanes. (via SN4HR)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    "The signs of destruction following the targeting of Russian planes of one of the schools in Sarmeen, Idlib. 20/10/2015” (via Step News)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    "The place of the massacre carried out by the Russian warplanes in Sarmeen, Idlib. 20-10-2015" (via Step News)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    "A video that depicts the moment of the second attack on the gathering of the civil defence members." ( (via civil defence in Idlib)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    An image of the civil defense member who was killed due to the alleged Russian shelling. (via SN4HR)

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 confirmed carrying out strikes at Sarmin for October 20th-21st 2015, noting: “On October 19, the means of radio interception received information concerning the meeting of commanders of illegal armed groups operating near Sarmin (Idlib province). After additional check of the information through other channels concerning the time and place of the meeting, there was made a decision to make a strike on the meeting place of the militants’ commanders.“

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    14 – 17
  • (13 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    28–30
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (24) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS059

Incident date

October 19, 2015

Location

الباب, Al-Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

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

Airwars assessment

An airstrike in the vicinity of al Karnish Street in Al Bab – either Russian or Assad regime – killed up to ten people and caused a significant number of injuries, according to reports.

Al Bab Free Syria reported that “Ten martys died as a result of [regime airstrikes], among whom were members of the Al A’taba family and an elderly man named as Fahd Salim Al Hamad, whose family was recovered from under the rubble.”

 

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

  • Ahmad Mustafa Ataba Adult male killed
  • wife of Ahmad Mustafa Ataba Adult female killed
  • son of Ahmad Mustafa Ataba Child male killed
  • Mahmoud al-Nashef Adult male killed
  • Fahd al-Saleem al-Hamad Adult male killed

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 10
  • (1 child1 woman3 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Unknown, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Cleanup operation in Al Bab following a Russian or Assad regime strike October 19th 2015 (via Al Bab Free Syria)
  • Breaking - the pig Russian warplanes carry out air raids targeting Al Bab in eastern Aleppo leading to deaths and injuries.
  • #Aleppo martyrs and wounded following the targeting of Assad’s warplanes of al bab in eastern aleppo with vacuum missiles.
  • Breaking- warplanes bomb Al Kornish street in Al bab eastern Aleppo.

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Unknown

Russia has confirmed carrying out strikes in Aleppo governorate on October 19th-20th 2015: “The Russian pilots carried out 55 combat sorties from the Hmeymim airbase engaging 60 targets in the Hama, Idlib, Lattakia, Damascus, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor provinces.” No further details were given.

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 10
  • (1 child1 woman3 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Unknown, Syrian Regime Armed Forces

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS060

Incident date

October 19, 2015

Location

بشرفة, Bisharfeh, Latakia, Syria

Geolocation

35.701856, 36.199383 Note: The accuracy of this location is to level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

In a reported mass casualty incident, at least 15 and as many as 57 civilians were killed in a Russian airstrike on the town of Bisharfeh in the Jabal al-Akrad area. Many of the victims were reported to be women and children.

Al Khaleej cited a local civil defence official: “The shelling came from a Russian aircraft on villages under the control of the opposition in the eastern countryside of the province of Latakia, killing 42 people and wounding dozens. The wounded were taken to the field hospital in the region.” The BBC placed the death toll slightly higher, at 45. However, rebel group the First Coastal Division later told Reuters that 15 non-combatants had died. Others insisted that as many as 57 civilians died.

A senior commander named as Captain Basil Zimmu was also killed along with four other fighters in the attack. The Syrian Observatory also later noted that the dead included “fighters from the rebel and Islamist factions with their families, one of them a chief of staff in a rebel division. The death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation.”

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    15 – 57
  • Civilians reported injured
    24
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (9) [ 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 confirms carrying out strikes in Lattakia governorate on October 19th-20th 2015: “The Russian pilots carried out 55 combat sorties from the Hmeymim airbase engaging 60 targets in the Hama, Idlib, Lattakia, Damascus, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor provinces.” No further details were given.

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    15 – 57
  • Civilians reported injured
    24
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS058

Incident date

October 18, 2015

Location

الوضيحي, Al Widehi, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.1007814, 37.1281242 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.

Summary

  • Civilians harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.

Incident Code

RS056

Incident date

October 18, 2015

Location

تيرمعلة, Teir Ma'ala, Homs, Syria

Geolocation

34.802364, 36.709287 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

An adult male civilian named as Ammar Al Ali was reported killed in an alleged new Russian airstrike on Teir Ma’ala.

Al Arabiya reported that “The northern countryside of Homs saw a fierce attack [on October 18th] with an attempt to break into the area by regime forces under air cover provided by Russian aircraft. The attack came from several directions.”

However, AP reported that Assad regime helicopters also carried out barrel bomb attacks on the town.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Ammar Al Ali Adult male killed

Summary

  • Civilians 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 (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Homs, Teir Ma’ala. Russian warplanes carry out their first strike. 18/10/2015 (via Mahmood Al-Louz)
  • Homs, Teir Ma’ala. Russian warplanes carrying out their second strike 18/10/2015 (via Mahmood Al-Louz)
  • Homs, Teir Ma’ala Russian warplanes carry out their third strike. 18/10/2015 (via Mahmood Al-Louz)

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 Russians made no public reference to any airstrikes in Homs governorate for October 18th-19th 2015.

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians 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 (8) [ collapse]