Five girls were killed and at least 11 others, mostly children, were injured when an alleged Turkish drone struck an educational facility in Shimoke village on August 19, 2022.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) reported that four girls under the age of 18 were killed and 11 others were injured in Turkish drone strikes that hit a center called the “Girls Center” that is 45 kilometers from the Syria-Turkey border. SOHR noted that the center is for girls who had been recruited by “Al-Shabiba Al-Thawriyah” (the Revolutionary Youth) and were being rehabilitated and returned back to their families by the SDF. A female commander of the Women’s Protection Units (YPJ) was visiting the center at the time of the strike.
Hawar News Agency provided the names of the four girls killed: Rania Atta, Zozan Zeidan, Dylan Ezz El Din, and Diana Alo. Jerusalem Post reported that the girls were born between 2002 and 2004 and quoted North Press who noted that “eyewitnesses reported at the time that ambulances transported many of the injured to hospitals in al-Hasakah.”
On September 5th, Hawar News reported that the child Slava Ramadan died from the wounds she sustained during the attack on the educational center.
The Mirror spoke with two of the girls that were at the school when the drone struck. “Renda Bakr, 17, and Novin Ezzat, 18 heard the buzz of the unmanned craft but, after that, it was all a blur of screams and blood…The first sound of trouble was the whirring of a reconnaissance drone, prowling the sky and poised to rain hell on innocent civilians. “There was so much fear, witnessing our friends being covered in blood, being burned, calling for their mums and suffering in pain. It was awful,” said Ms Bakr. “I don’t even have time to think or process what was going on, I was too scared to even comprehend what was going on.” Ms Bakr and Ms Ezzat loved school and loved their friends, but now living there is tarnished by the memories of the attack. Their injuries were much less worse than others, so they bundled people into makeshift ambulances and went to the hospital….”We heard a drone and suddenly it attacked us. There was blood all over the place and we kept hearing explosives and piercing screams”, says Ms Ezzat, who now has shrapnel stuck in her leg.”
@PopularFront_ tweeted that the girls that were killed were reportedly playing volleyball in the center’s courtyard when the drone struck. A tweet from @Awayen1 put the number of people injured at 17.
The Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria released a statement condemning the attack that resulted in the death of four children and the injury of 11 girls, in addition to pointing our that the “girls learning center” is sponsored by the United Nations.
The Mirror reported that “the United Nations Resident Coordinator and Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Mr Imran Riza, the Regional Humanitarian Coordinator for Syria, Mr Muhannad Hadi and the UNICEF Regional Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Ms Adele Khodr expressed their “deep concern” on Saturday about the continuing escalation of hostilities in northern Syria.”
Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve Commander Maj. Gen. John Brennan released a statement that “On the evening of Aug. 18, an armed unmanned aerial system struck a group of teenaged girls playing volleyball who were active in a United Nations educational outreach program in Hasakah. Initial reports indicate that the strike killed four and wounded several others. On behalf of CJTF-OIR, I condemn this attack and any others that kill and injure civilians.” The statement also went on to call for “immediate de-escalation from all parties and an end to activities that put at risk the significant battlefield gains the Coalition has made against ISIS.” A security source told North Press that a patrol of the Coalition was conducted in the spot of the attack earlier.
The incident occured during the night.