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 at approximately 7:30 pm local time.