Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

R4345

Incident date

July 17, 2021

Location

سرجة, Sarja, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

At least three civilians, including a White Helmet and elderly woman, were killed and two others, both White Helmets, were injured in alleged Russian or regime strikes on the village of Sarja on July 17, 2021.

Syrian Today reported that “three volunteers from the Civil Defense were hit by laser-guided Krassenpol shells while trying to rescue the injured and recover the dead”.

Syrian Network for Human Rights provided the information that “Just as the Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) team reached the site and residents of the area gathered to aid the injured and evacuated victims, the same forces carried out a ‘double tap’ artillery strike at the same site, causing the death of three civilians, including an elderly woman, and Hammam al Asi, a media worker for the Civil Defense agency, as well as injuring two other members of the SCD with various degrees in addition to the severe damage to the house and the surrounding area. SNHR notes that Mrs. Saeedah al Asi, aged 60, the elderly woman who was killed in the second attack, was the grandmother of the three young sisters killed in the first attack.”

According to @AmruSalahuddien, “Russian artillery deliberately targeted, after aerial reconnaissance, the Syrian Civil Defense team while rescuing civilians trapped under the rubble in the village of Sarja”.

@anasanas84 listed the Civil Defense members that were injured in the strike: Kamel Zureik, Hammam Al-Asi and Mahmoud Othman. @EdlibNN later reported that Hammam Al-Asi died from his injuries and @jisrtv added that his colleagues had been waiting in the hospital while he was in the operating room but he did not survive. Syrian Civil Defense reported that his last words to his colleagues were “I want to go back and document the crimes of the regime” and that he would be buried in his beloved village of Bzabur.

One of the victims of the strike, Hammam Al-Asi, was photographing the incident when he was killed and was able to capture an image of the moment the strike occurred, posted by @AmruSalahuddien. Hammam was a civil defense journalist in the Bzabur center.

Al-Durar Al-Shamiya published a statement from Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham that “commended the efforts made by Hammam in helping the injured and exhuming the bodies of the martyrs from his family and brothers, in addition to documenting the moments of emergency that exposed the reality of the Assad regime and the Russian occupier.”

Syrian Civil Defense published a statement that “Hammam al-Asi conveyed the truth to the world as evidence of the crimes of the regime and Russia. Their missiles were present, as they used to kill the truth and stifle votes.”

Sources were conflicted as to whether Russia or the regime were responsible. Syrian Civil Defense attributed the strikes to both the regime and Russia while Edlib Media Center blamed only the regime and a tweet from @AmruSalahuddien blamed only Russia.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 woman1 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 (31) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (16) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    "Come, Hassan, we hit colleges." Harsh scenes from today's massacre in the village of Sarja in Jabal al-Zawiya, south of Idlib, with double bombing by the regime forces and Russia with laser-guided shells targeting the Syrian Civil Defense teams while saving civilians. #whitehelmets Note: The video contains harsh scenes
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    "Your safety, Abu Abdo, your safety, my partner." Cries of oppression and fear of separation have occurred, whose echoes are still heard in the souls of those who knew Hammam, partner in sacrifice and partner in grief and joy. From the funeral of the martyred media volunteer Humam Al-Asi today in his village in Zabur, south of Idlib. #not_a_target #whitehelmets
  • Image taken at the moment of a bombing in Sarja that killed the photographer Hammam Al-Asi on July 17, 2021. (Image posted by @AmruSalahuddien)
  • Injured Civil Defense member following a double strike on Sarja on July 17, 2021. (Image posted by @anasanas84)
  • Injured Civil Defense member following a double strike on Sarja on July 17, 2021. (Image posted by @anasanas84)
  • Hammam Al-Asi, a civil defense journalist in the Zabur center, died from his injuries following a double strike on Sarja while Civil Defense teams were rescuing the wounded. (Image posted by @EdlibNN)
  • Hammam Al-Asi, a civil defense journalist in the Zabur center, died from his injuries following a double strike on Sarja while Civil Defense teams were rescuing the wounded. (Image posted by @anasanas84)
  • "A volunteer in the Civil Defense is waiting for his colleague Humam Al-Asi to leave the operating room, but he died as a result of the regime’s bombing of Sarja in Idlib countryside" (Image posted by @jisrtv)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Injured Civil Defense member following a double strike on Sarja on July 17, 2021. (Image posted by Syrian Civil Defense)
  • Civil Defense members treat the injured following a double strike on Sarja on July 17, 2021. (Image posted by Syrian Civil Defense)
  • Civil Defense members treat the injured following a double strike on Sarja on July 17, 2021. (Image posted by Syrian Civil Defense)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Injured Civil Defense member following a double strike on Sarja on July 17, 2021. (Image posted by Syrian Civil Defense)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Injured Civil Defense member following a double strike on Sarja on July 17, 2021. (Image posted by Syrian Civil Defense)
  • The camera belonging to Hammam Al-Asi, a civil defense journalist in the Zabur center, who died from his injuries following a double strike on Sarja while Civil Defense teams were rescuing the wounded. (Image posted by Syrian Civil Defense)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Hammam Al-Asi, a civil defense journalist in the Zabur center, died from his injuries following a double strike on Sarja while Civil Defense teams were rescuing the wounded. (Image posted by Syrian Civil Defense)

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 and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 woman1 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 (31) [ collapse]