Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

R3810

Incident date

August 16, 2019

Location

حاس, Qaryal al Rahma near Hass, Idlib , Syria

Airwars assessment

Up to 20 civilians, including children and a pregnant woman, were reported killed in alleged Russian airstrikes on Qaryal al Rahma near Hass, Idlib, on August 16th.

The New York Times later published transcripts of Russian pilots on the day, which it said proved the Russian Air Force had conducted the attack.

Euphrates Post reported that “thirteen civilians, including women and children, were killed as a result of airstrikes by Russian warplanes on the homes of displaced persons in the town of Hass.”

Daily Sabah also stated that the “Russian airstrike killed 13 people, including a pregnant woman, and wounded 20 others.” Meanwhile, Etilaf News claimed that the attack killed “14 civilians, including four children, two women, and a fetus, and injured more than 30 others, including serious cases.”

Shaam News also documented the death of 14 in the incident, stating that this included “six children and three women.”

Syria Civil Defense discussed the death of an unborn child, and his mother, in the attack stating that “Hass` fetus was born prematurely weeks before his normal delivery, and in a town that was not his home country. […] He was killed before he was given a name, and all members of his family were killed […], as a result of a Russian warplane bombing gathering of displaced persons [previously] displaced by planes and artillery of the Assad regime and Russia [in Idlib and Hama.]

An early report from @ShabhaPress indicated that there were “up to 11 martyrs and at least 15 wounded” as a result of the airstrike, yet these figures rose in later reports as understanding of the events unfolded.

A later report from Step Agency reported that “a child died as a result of wounds sustained” in the attack a day following, “bringing the death toll in Haas to 16 people.”

Sources predominantly attributed the attack to Russian forces, however, two named both Russia and the Syrian regime in reports of many incidents, including the attack on Hass.

Syria Civil Defense wrote that “the story of Hass’ fetus remains one of the stories that have been dying at the hands of the Russian and Asadi criminals, without any punishment or deterrence, despite violating all international laws and customs.”

In December 2019, the New York Times published an investigation which it said proved Russian pilots had conducted the attack. According to the Times, the strike took place at 7.17pm, killing 19 civilians and injuring 13.

On March 2nd, 2020, the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria released its report covering the period between July 2019 and January 2020. The report said that at least 20 people were killed in this attack including eight women of which one was pregnant, and six children and injured 40 civilians. The report said that “The Commission received no reports indicating the presence of Syrian aircraft during the day and time of the attack on the Haas compound. Consistent with eyewitnesses’ statements, video footage, picture material and satellite imagery show a deep, large impact crater in an open area in the Haas compound. The impact and the damage indicate the use of a blast weapon with wide-area effects, such as highly explosive fragmentation bombs. This includes OFAB-250 or KAB-500 bombs, both of which are unguided blast fragmentation munitions, known to be carried by Russian aircraft, and Russian Suhkoi Su-24 in particular. Given the evidence available, including witness testimonies, video footage, data imagery as well as reports by flight spotters, flight communication intercepts and early warning observation reports, the Commission concluded that a Russian aircraft participated in each incident as described above, and that each of the incidents the Russian Air Force did not direct the attacks at a specific military objective, amounting to the war crime of launching indiscriminate attacks in civilian areas.”

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    13 – 20
  • (4–6 children1–8 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    13–40
  • 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 (19) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • Image Caption Translation: "Russian forces committed a massacre in an IDPs residential village in Hass village in Idlib, on Aug 16 SNHR: at least 14 civilians, including six children, an unborn baby and three women, were killed as fixed- wing warplanes we believe were Russian fired missiles on al Rahma IDPs residential village in east of Hass village in the southern suburbs of Idlib governorate, on August 16, 2019." (via Syrian Network for Human Rights)
  • Image caption translation: "Fourteen civilians, including children and women, will be killed and 30 others injured as a result of a horrific massacre committed by warplanes after targeting a residential compound housing displaced people in the town of Hass in Idlib countryside today." (via Syria Civil Defense)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Image caption translation: "Hass` fetus was born prematurely weeks before his normal delivery, and in a town that was not his home country. He was born away from his hometown of Karnaz in Hama countryside after his father, Abdul Jabbar Othman, his mother, and his older brother, who had not yet seen him, were displaced. Hass` fetus was killed before he was given a name, and all members of his family were killed before he was called a name we call him, as a result of the bombing of a Russian warplane gathering displaced persons, who were displaced by planes and artillery of the Assad regime and Russia from the countryside of Hama to the countryside of Idlib. The story of fetus Hass remains one of the stories that have been dying at the hands of the Russian and Asadi criminals without any punishment or deterrence despite violating all international laws and customs." (via Syria Civil Defense)
  • Aftermath of alleged Russian airstrike on Haas in Idlib on August 16th, 2020 (via Daily Sabah)
  • Aftermath of alleged Russian airstrike on Haas in Idlib on August 16th, 2019 (via Etilaf)
  • Syrian civil defence rescuing a child after an alleged Russian airstrike on Hass on Aug, 16th, 2019 (via Halab Today)

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    13 – 20
  • (4–6 children1–8 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    13–40
  • 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 (19) [ collapse]