At least four people were killed and up to 23 others wounded in the first of two Syrian or Russian artillery or airstrikes in one of the most populated cities in Idlib, Sarmada, on October 16th 2021. One of those killed was reported to be police chief Saad Eddin Berri; sources said it was likely that another three policeman were also killed.
The Syria Observatory for Human Rights said that they expected the death toll to rise given the severity of the injuries sustained by some of those wounded in the incident.
Syrian Civil Defense (SCD) teams noted that this is the latest in a significant escalation of airstrikes on the region, which is leading to “a humanitarian catastrophe that may be the worst since 2011, threatening the lives of more than 4 million civilians”. SCD also pointed to rising COVID-19 infections in the region, which is only expected to get worse with the approach of winter.
Shaam news reported that a number of key humanitarian warehouses and offices were in the area where the strikes were carried out on the Bab al-Hawa border crossing with Turkey – the border used primarily by humanitarian actors bringing essential supplies into Syria.
A relative of Mr. Berri, the police chief killed in the incident, posted on Facebook:
“In the name of God, the most gracious, the most merciful
“Oh, the reassured soul * return to your Lord, contented with contentment * so enter into my servants * and enter me”
With tearful eyes and humble hearts satisfied with God’s decree and destiny, we received the news of the death of our cousin Saad Eddin Ibrahim Berri from the town of Kafr Daryan following the bombing of the city of Sarmada by Assad’s gangs.”
Orient news reported: “The Civil Defense explained that artillery shelling by the Assad militia and the Russian occupation affected vital and service facilities today and the road between Bab al-Hawa and Sarmada in Idlib countryside, adding that the rescue teams retrieved the bodies of the dead and treated the injured, and put out the fire in light of the continued bombing of the area”.
Syrian Civil Defense teams were reported to have immediately attended the bombing site, with Baladi news correspondent noting: “the civil defense and ambulance teams went to the bombing sites immediately, and worked to open the roads, remove the rubble, retrieve the bodies of the martyrs, and transfer the injured to hospitals and medical points near the area.”
Sources also noted that the attack on Sarmada is in violation of ceasefire agreements, with Shaam news network pointing to the strategic significance of the strikes allegedly observed by Idlib rebel factions to have resulted from Russian operations: “with the aim of sending a clear message to Turkey, which threatens to launch a military operation against the separatist militia “SDF”, which is a repetition of the Russian strikes”.
Shaam noted that the same area was targeted last March, and was “carried out with advanced Russian “Krasnapol” missiles, in parallel with the flight of Russian aircraft of the “Orlan 30″ type over the Sarmada region, which identified the targets and directed artillery to target them”. Several other sources also commented than the laser-guided Krasnapol missiles were used in the incident.
Most sources blamed either Syrian regime or Russian forces for the strike, while two also blamed Iranian backed militias. The Syria Network for Human Rights said: “The primary parties suspected of responsibility for the attack being Russian and Syrian regime forces, since the shelling emanated from an area controlled by them. The investigation process is still underway to specifically identify the party responsible for the bombing”.
The incident occured during the day.
The victims were named as:
Sources (47) [ collapse]
from sources (34) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention a government facility being struck near the old Bab Al Hawa square (ساحة باب الهوى القد) in the city of Sarmada (سرمدا). Based on imagery available to Airwars, a potential set of coordinates for the strike are: 36.204324, 36.724478.