Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

RS043

Incident date

October 15, 2015

Location

الغنطو, Al Ghantu, Homs, Syria

Geolocation

34.82179, 36.69605 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

An air raid shelter in the village of Al Ghantu was reportedly hit in a Russian airstrike, killing up to 48 people from one extended family. Among the dead were at least 23 children and nine women.

A local cameraman captured the moment the missile from an apparent Russian Air Force Su-24 hit (see below) despite the Kremlin making no reference to airstrikes in the governorate that day. The Arab East Centre noted: “According to sources in the field who saw the shelling, the first missile destroyed the two-storey building, while the second destroyed the shelter beneath the building.”

Early reports placed the number of dead at 17. However Al Jazeera later said up to 48 people had died, all from one extended family, the Al Assafs (or Al Steifs).

A reported survivor described the scene, again to Al Jazeera: “Some 45 people died. Of course they were all women, children and girls. The oldest was a 70 year old woman and the youngest was a month old. There were also pregnant women.”

An Amnesty International investigation later concluded: “There are no indications of any military presence. A weapons expert who analysed the images of the aftermath of the strike told Amnesty International that the nature of the destruction indicated possible use of fuel-air explosives or “vacuum bombs”, which leave a wide destructive “footprint” and can kill humans without causing significant visible injuries. Fuel-air explosives are particularly prone to indiscriminate effects when used in the vicinity of civilians.”

Human Rights Watch concluded that the attack “apparently violated the laws of war.“

Some 45 of the dead have been named by VDC.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    45 – 48
  • (23–33 children9–13 women13 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (14) [ collapse]

  • The moment a purported Russian missile hit al Ghantu, Oct 15th 2015 (Via: Shaam News Network)
  • Footage showing alleged Russian strikes on al Ghintu, October 15th 2015 (Via: Shaam Netowork)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic pictures showing the bodies of the victims of alleged Russian strikes on on the villages of northern Homs countryside, 15th October 2015. (via: @rafiksalkini)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic images of the victims of the alleged Russian strikes on a number of villages in northern Homs 15th October 2015. (via: @rafiksalkini)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic images of the victims of the alleged Russian strikes on a number of villages in northern Homs 15th October 2015. (via: @rafiksalkini)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic images of the victims of the alleged Russian strikes on a number of villages in northern Homs 15th October 2015. (via: @rafiksalkini)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic images of the victims of the alleged Russian strikes on a number of villages in northern Homs 15th October 2015. (via: @rafiksalkini)
  • Abdullah Abdulmouti Assaf, killed in an alleged Russian raid on Al Ghantu, 15th October 2015. (via: VDC)
  • Alaa Issam Assaf, killed in an alleged Russian raid on Al Ghantu, 15th October 2015. (via: VDC)
  • Majed Issam Assaf, killed in an alleged Russian raid on Al Ghantu, 15th October 2015. (via: VDC)
  • Shadi Farhan Assaf, killed in an alleged Russian raid on Al Ghantu, 15th October 2015. (via: VDC)
  • Farhan Shadi Assaf, killed in an alleged Russian raid on Al Ghantu, 15th October 2015. (via: VDC)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Abdulqader Salem al-Hajwani, killed in an alleged Russian raid on Al Ghantu, 15th October 2015. (via: VDC)
  • Kazem Rakan Assaf, killed in an alleged Russian raid on Al Ghantu, 15th October 2015. (via: VDC)

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

Russian Armed Forces

Russia made no reference to strikes in Homs governorate for October 15th-16th 2015: “In the course of the last 24 hours, the Russian aviation group in Syria has continued conducting pinpoint airstrikes against ISIS facilities on the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic. The Russian aircraft performed 33 combat sorties from Hmeymim airbase engaging 32 ISIS infrastructural facilities in the Idlib, Hama, Damascus, Aleppo and Deir ez-Zor provinces.“

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    45 – 48
  • (23–33 children9–13 women13 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Armed Forces

Sources (18) [ collapse]