Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

R4301

Incident date

March 21, 2021

Location

موقف مقطورة في جوار باب الهوى, Trailer park in the vicinity of Bab Al Hawa, Idlib , Syria

Geolocation

36.215083, 36.711222 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

Between one and two civilians were killed in alleged Russian airstrikes on Sarmada near the Bab Al Hawa border areas in the evening of March 21, 2021.

The number of alleged air strikes was reported as 7 in a tweet by @Sy24ria. According to Al Modon News, the airstrikes were preceded by a long-range Russian missile strike on the same area.

Most sources identified only one civilian as being killed, including a tweet from @ShahbaPress reported “a martyr and wounded civilians as a result of Russian warplanes bombing a garage near the Bab al-Hawa crossing, north of Idlib.” Jisr Press reported that “that several serious injuries occurred among civilians.” A tweet from @IdlibPlus also reported one person killed and “several wounded.” A video posted by @syr_television shows civil defense teams removing someone in a body bag. However, a tweet from @mh197351 refers to “unidentified martyrs, their bodies were blown off by the Russian bombardment” indicating there were multiple people killed.

According to Syrian Civil Defense, the airstrikes hit “a cement factory and truck garage in the Bab al-Hawa border area in the northern countryside of Idlib, and the raids caused large fires in trucks.” A tweet from @okpazobany identified the location as being near the Bab al-Hawa gas plant and a tweet by @Sy24ria places the strikes as occurring on the road connecting the city of Sarmada and Bab Al Hawa. Reuters reported that “dozens of trailers carrying goods in a parking lot near the border crossing of Bab al Hawa were set aflame” and that this was a “fuel facilities that serve an economic lifeline for a region that is home to more than four million people.”

Anadolu Agency News describes the area as being opposite the Turkish Reyhanli district in Hatay Province and in the “de-escalation zone.” Al Modon News also pointed out that they were near camps for internally displaced persons and Jisr Press identified those injured as residing in the camps for the displaced.

A video posted by Edlib Media Center shows the immediate aftermath of the airstrike with vehicles on fire and white helmets arriving in an ambulance. Videos posted by Syrian Civil Defense and MMC show massive fires from alleged Russian airstrikes and the civil defense teams working to put them out. Images posted by @IdlibPlus also show the flames and dust that resulted from the airstrikes.

Enab baladi reported that the area bombed is “the artery for the entry of UN aid to the opposition-controlled areas in northern Syria.”

According to Reuters, “the spokesman for the National Army, a Turkish-backed rebel alliance in the northwest, said Russia, which backs the government in Damascus, sought to destabilise the last rebel stronghold in Syria and disrupt commercial activity” and “Turkey’s Defence Ministry said a missile launched by Syrian government forces had struck Qah and a truck and trailer park near Sarmada, injuring seven civilians” in addition to asking Russia to stop the attacks.

A statement issued by the US Department of State stated  that “Russian airstrikes struck Idlib near the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey, reportedly killing one civilian and putting access to much needed assistance at risk.” They also added that Bab al Hawa is the “only UN-authorized humanitarian border crossing in Syria and remains the most efficient and effective way to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to approximately 2.4 million Syrians every month.”

All of the sources attributed the air strikes to Russia.

The incident occured in the evening.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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 (33) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (23) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

  • Image provided by Syrian Network for Human Rights of the civilian Ghiath Talla’a who was killed by alleged Russian strikes of Sarmada city near the Bab al Hawa border crossing on March 21, 2021.

Geolocation notes (6) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a trailer park being struck in the vicinity of Bab Al Hawa ( باب الهوى) crossing, north of Sarmada (سرمدا).  Analyzing audio-visual material from sources, we have narrowed down the location to these coordinates: 36.215083, 36.711222.

  • Reports of the incident mention a trailer park being struck in the vicinity of Bab Al Hawa ( باب الهوى) crossing, north of Sarmada (سرمدا).  Analyzing audio-visual material from sources, we have narrowed down the location to exact coordinates. Close up of site with tags from source material.

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Tagged audio-visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    AFP News Agency

  • Tagged audio-visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    AFP News Agency

  • Tagged audio-visual material from sources.

    Imagery:
    AFP News Agency

  • Satellite imagery from Sentinel-2 shows the building was built around October 2020, explaining why the are is not present on the Google Earth satellite imagery dating March 2020.

    Imagery:
    Sentinel-2

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Armed Forces
  • Russian 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

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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 (33) [ collapse]