Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

R4402

Incident date

October 16, 2021

Location

سرمدا, Sarmada, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

36.204324, 36.724478 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

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.

  • Saad Eddin Berri Age unknown male killed
  • Yousef Abdul Rahim Al-Dabaan 33 years old injured
  • Ahmad Juma'a 28 years old injured
  • Jumaa Muhammad 28 years old injured
  • Mahmoud Al-Youssef Age unknown injured
  • Ahmed Al-Saleh Age unknown injured
  • Ahmed Al-Susi Ahmed Age unknown injured
  • Abdullah Gomaa Age unknown injured
  • Hisham Al-Aswad Age unknown injured
  • Jamil Tayeb alrouh Age unknown injured
  • Khaled Al-Saleh Age unknown injured
  • Imran Sheikh Age unknown injured
  • Ahmed Juma Hadid Age unknown injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    13–23
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces, Iranian Armed Forces, Russian Armed Forces

Sources (47) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (34) [ collapse]

  • A residential neighbourhood is hit by alleged Russian and/or Syrian regime strikes on October 16th 2021. Image via @aboalhodaalhoms on Twitter.
  • Smoke rises from residential neighbourhood in Sarmada after alleged Russian and/or Syrian regime strikes on October 16th 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @aboalhodaalhoms.
  • "The first moments of the response of the Syrian Civil Defense teams to the bombing by the regime forces and Russia, which targeted vital facilities on the Bab al-Hawa-Sarmada road, north of Idlib, today, Saturday, October 16, and led to the killing of 4 people and the injury of 23 others."
  • "4 martyrs, including the police chief and another policeman, and about 20 wounded, as a result of shelling by the Assad militia located in the western countryside of Aleppo (the 46th Regiment) through laser-guided missiles, in the area between Sarmada and Bab al-Hawa, the Department of Souls and the police station in Sarmada, north of Idlib"
  • Destruction caused by Syrian regime and/or Russian forces in Sarmada, October 16th 2021. Image posted on Twitter via @SyrianCoalition.
  • "#Ahmed Dayoub from the bombing of the city of Sarmada today in #Idlib All that he dreams of is prosthetic limbs, Ahmed, as you can see, is a boy without two legs and his hands are not healthy either." - image posted via @momtaz112233 after alleged Russian or Syrian regime strikes on Sarmada October 16th 2021.
  • "Initial photos of the rescue operations after the artillery and missile shelling on Sarmada in the countryside of Idlib"
  • Images posted after alleged Syrian regime or Russian strikes on Sarmada, Idlib - October 16th 2021. Image posted on Twitter via @Almohrar1.
  • First responders remove a body from the rubble of a Syrian regime or Russian airstrike on Sarmada, Idlib - October 16th 2021. At least four people were reported killed. Image posted by @Almohrar1 on Twitter.
  • Destruction caused by Syrian regime or Russian strikes on Sarmada, October 16th 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @Almohrar1.
  • "4 civilians were killed and 12 others were injured as a result of artillery shelling by the Syrian regime forces on the city of Sarmada in Idlib countryside"
  • First responders tend to fires caused by alleged Syrian regime or Russian airstrikes in Sarmada, October 16th 2021. At least four people were killed in the attack. Image posted on Twitter by @zamanalwsl.
  • First responders stand in front of a building hit by alleged Syrian regime or Russian airstrikes, October 16th 2021 in Sarmada. Image posted on Twitter by @zamanalwsl.
  • Residents gather in the street after alleged Syrian regime or Russian airstrikes on Sarmada, October 16th 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @zamanalwsl.
  • First responder tends to a fire caused by alleged Syrian regime or Russian strikes in Sarmada October 16th 2021.
  • The effects of reported Syrian regime or Russian airstrikes on Sarmada 16th October 2021; Police chief Saad Eddin Berri was reported killed in the incident, alongside another police colleague. Image posted on Twitter by @s2udFqewzZOZrQU .
  • Building damaged by alleged Syrian regime or Russian air or artillery strikes on Sarmada, October 16th 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @s2udFqewzZOZrQU .
  • First responders put out a fire in a building after alleged Russian or Syrian regime strikes on Sarmada October 16th 2021. Image posted on Twitter by @s2udFqewzZOZrQU.
  • Image posted by Twitter user @s2udFqewzZOZrQU showing destruction of offices - one of those killed in the incident was reported to be Police chief Saad Eddin Berri.
  • Smoke rising above Sarmada, where Russian and Syrian regime forces were accused of killing at least four people and wounding another 23 in an artillery or airstrike - image posted on Twitter via @abo_aljod84.
  • Image of smoke rising over Sarmada October 16th 2021, after alleged Syria regime or Russian strikes. Image posted by Syriatv.
  • Smoke rises over Sarmada after alleged Syrian regime and/or Russian strikes were reported to have killed four people and injured over 20. Image posted by Orient news.
  • At least four people were killed in alleged Russian or Syrian regime airstrikes on October 16th 2021 in Sarmada. Image posted on Facebook by Siriaidlibnews.
  • xxx, Sarmada police chief - one of four killed in alleged Syrian regime or Russian airstrikes on October 16th 2021. Image posted on Facebook by Qais.tribe2021.
  • Syria Civil Defense first responders carry one of the four bodies reported to have been killed in Russian or Syrian regime strikes on Sarmada, October 16th 2021. Image via SDC on Facebook.
  • First responders attempt to put out a fire in Sarmada, Idlib, on October 16th 2021 after alleged Russian or Syrian regime strikes. Image via Syrian Civil Defense (SDC) on Facebook.
  • Syrian Civil Defense first responders in the rubble of a building destroyed by alleged Russian or Syrian regime forces in Sarmada, October 16th 2021. Image posted on Facebook by Syrian Civil Defense.
  • "These children are trying to escape from the shells of the regime forces and Russia, which targeted the city of Sarmada in the northern countryside of Idlib today, Saturday, October 16, and led to the death of 4 people and the injury of 23 others. The international community must put an end to the deadly attacks on northwestern Syria, protect children from them, and make every effort to support and continue the educational process." - via Syrian Civil Defense on Facebook.
  • Destruction in Sarmada, October 16th 2021 - after strikes carried out by Russian or Syrian forces, according to local sources. Image via IdlibPlus on Twitter.
  • Sarmada, Idlib - October 16th 2021, after alleged Russian or Syrian regime forces hit the heavily populated area - killing at least four and likely injuring over 20. Image posted by Shaam news.
  • First responders in Sarmada, Idlib, after alleged Russian or Syrian regime forces hit the town - killing at leats four and leaving several others wounded. Image posted on Facebook by Shaam.
  • First responders try to put out fires caused by strikes from either Russian or Syrian forces in Sarmada, Idlib, October 16th 2021. Image via Shaam on Facebook.
  • Large fires caused by alleged Russian or Syrian airstrikes on Sarmada, October 16th 2021. Image posted by Shaam news on Facebook.

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.

  • 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). Analyzing audio-visual material from sources we have narrowed down the location to exact coordinates.

    Date taken:
    November 12, 2019

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Date taken:
    November 12, 2019

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Tagged audio-visual material from sources.

    Date taken:
    October 16, 2021

    Imagery:
    @aboalhodaalhoms

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Syrian Regime Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Iranian Armed Forces Assessment:

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

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
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    13–23
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces, Iranian Armed Forces, Russian Armed Forces

Sources (47) [ collapse]