Between 43 and 73 civilians were reported killed and 70-170 injured in alleged Russian airstrikes on Idlib, according to multiple sources.
Al Jazeera posted a video from the main market on Al Jala’a street in which the reporter said 47 non-combatants were killed and 70 injured, in strikes by Russian warplanes. The correspondent said the street contained two schools, Al Ourouba school and a primary school, and that Russian planes were still circling the skies of idlib, despite a local truce agreed in the area. Al Jazeera English later posted a film by Nagieb Khaja which claimed the death toll had risen to 73.
The Shaam News Network reported that Russian strikes targeted the Al Qoussour neighbourhood, the industrial area and the city centre. It initially said 50 died including women and children and that more than 170 were injured including critical cases, in six Russian raids targeting a party branch, residential buildings and the Department of School Books.
SNN added that there had been fears of repeated raids as the White Helmets attempted to evacuate the area and rescue bodies. A member of the White Helmets said the field hospital was full of casualties, that it had not been possible to identify them all, and that teams continued to search for survivors under the rubble.
A subsequent report by SNN said that a Sharia court had also been struck, killing in total more than 95 people and leaving hundreds injured.
One of the dead was named as Samir Sweden, an engineer and a prominent table tennis judge, who was killed when his home was hit. According to an obituary: “Engineer Samir Sweden, was born in the city of Idlib in 1960, he studied engineering in the city of Aleppo University, and founded 5 years ago the page Deaths in Idlib via Facebook, which was the most prominent reference and the most accurate in terms of counting the number of deaths [from the civil war] maintained on a daily basis.”
The Syrian Network for Human Rights initially published a short report blaming the regime for the attacks and putting the death toll at 18. But a subsequent detailed report blamed Russia, and documented the death of 42 civilians, including a child and two women, and one armed man, plus 122 wounded. According to the report:
“ Three alleged Russian warplanes launched 6 airstrikes with 8 rockets on vital regions in the middle of Idlib city. The estimated region’s area is 1 Km2.
– Four rockets fell on a region called ‘the security region’ in Al Qusour neighborhood in Idlib. It included several government buildings like the military and air force security branches, the governor’s palace and Al Ba’ath Party building that was transformed by the armed opposition to a court and a prison that included 200 individuals who were .accused of different charges
-Two rockets targeted Al Jalaa’ nearby street which includes the city’s main market, a warehouse for school books, and a high school
-Two rockets targeted a residential building behind Al Hayat Mosque.”
Mr Omar Abu Abdullah, a civil activist witnessed the shelling and told SN4HR: “At about 10 am, three Russian warplanes launched an air strike on Al Jalaa’Street next to Al Ourouba Female High School. I went to the shelling location and before I got there, the Russian warplanes launched another airstrike on the court’s building that was previously the headquarters for the ruling regime party. I was next to the high school and the civil defense members were trying to evacuate the injured people and transport the dead bodies. I saw great destruction in the school’s book warehouse building since it was near the high school. However, the massacre happened next to court’s building. I went there and saw the place completely destroyed. The smell of charcoaled bodies was all over the place and I heard distress sounds from the court’s basement where .the court’s prison was.”
Mr Mohamad Yehya, another civil defence member in Idlib city added: “The greatest number of victims was in the court which was almost completely destroyed. It took us two days to pull the victims’ bodies from under the rubble. During our rescue mission, the Russian warplanes launched another airstrike on us and shelled Al Sheikh Tholoth region There was a 17 year old young man who was trapped under the rubble. It took us 5 hours to reach him and pull him. The region targeted is vital as people go to the court to facilitate their paperwork. There are no military headquarters near that area that would justify the brutal shelling.”
Further testimony was given by Mr Sa’er, a local media activist in Idlib, who was close to the location of the attacks: “The shelling started at about 10 a.m. where two rockets fell on the city’s downtown next to the former air force security branch which killed a civilian and injured 5 others. I went directly to the shelling location and started to take pictures of the shelled site. The shelling was repeated in nearby locations with 7 more rockets. They hit the military security branch, the court and the school books’ warehouse. The court’s building was targeted twice and it witnessed the death of dozens of people. It was a three story building and it facilitated the …resident’s paperwork and documents like marriage, divorce, civil conflicts etc. Dozens of individuals go there daily in addition to the judges. There was a basement in the court’s building which included almost 200 prisoners. The initial outcome was 20 martyrs, 15 missing individuals and not less than 110 injured individuals. It was horrific. Dead bodies were scattered around the .place and hundreds others were calling for help from under the rubble. The court’s building belonged to the Al Fateh Army but judges, lawyers, employees and court security forces worked in it and there were no military headquarters next to it.”
The Syrian Network for Human Rights kept one other name confidential due to search reasons – from Hama – a member of an armed opposition group.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (2)
Family members (2)
- Omar Aisha Age unknown from Idlib, Darkoush killed
- Abdo Aisha Age unknown from Idlib, Darkoush killed
Family members (2)
Family members (2)
Family members (2)
- Faisal Abdul Karim Bakour Age unknown from Hama suburbs – Khattab town killed
- Taha Bakro or Taha Mohammad Bakro Age unknown male young man (died December 22nd) killed
- Abu Huthaifa Al Homsi Age unknown from Homs killed
- Samir Swaid Abu Waseem Age unknown killed
- Majd Ma’adal Age unknown killed
- Ibraheem Ahmad Qousurah Age unknown killed
- Mohammad Akeel Adult male lawyer killed
- Nader Sha’aban Age unknown lawyer killed
- Huda Halaq Age unknown lawyer killed
- Hasan Farhat Age unknown killed
- Bilal Sharif Age unknown killed
- Mohammad Zuhair Arabian Age unknown male killed
- Yasser Ahmad Al Shabaka Adult lawyer killed
- Yahiya Al Mohammad Age unknown from Idlib, Saraqibah killed
- Omar Faheil Age unknown male lawyer killed
- Haj Mohammad Yasser Adult male lawyer killed
- Muhi Al Din Bin Ghiath Mashlah Age unknown killed
- Burhan Dubea Age unknown killed
- Mohammad Wahid Wahdi Age unknown male killed
- Mohammad Juma Abdul Jawal Age unknown male killed
- Mustafa Hamoush Age unknown male killed
- Fakher Afdeil Age unknown lawyer from Idlib, Ihrem town killed
- Omar Haj Qasim Age unknown male from Idlib, Darkoush killed
- Mustafa Sarimo Age unknown male from Idlib, Darkoush killed
- Abdul Qader Haj Qasim Age unknown male from Idlib, Darkoush killed
- Khaled Abdullah Al Eisa Age unknown from Idlib, Kafr Sajneh killed
- Ziad Tala’a Mohammad Age unknown killed
- Juma Abdul Jawad Age unknown killed
- Oqba Kasher Age unknown from Idlib, Ma’aret Msreen killed
- Hamdo Zaaifa Age unknown from Idlib, Ma’aret Msreen killed
- Omar Mohammad Ali Halaq Age unknown male from Idlib, Sermin city killed
- Mrs Sadeiqa Makhal Age unknown female her body was found under the rubble on 22 Dec 2015 killed
- Yasser Khadro Age unknown male from Idlib, Ma’aret Msreen city – his body was found under the rubble on 21 Dec 2015 killed
- Mahmoud Sanaq Abu Mihyo or Mahmoud Sonae Age unknown male from Ariha (died December 23rd) killed
- Mudar Abdul Hamid Eiz or Mudar Abdulhameed Ezz Age unknown from Taftaneh (body recovered December 22nd) killed
Sources (13) [ collapse]
Russian Armed Forces Assessment:
Original strike reports
For December 18th-23rd, Russia reported that “In the course of five days, on December 18-23, aircraft of the Aerospace Forces in the Syrian Arab Republic have performed 302 combat sorties engaging 1093 objects in the Aleppo, Idlib, Latakia, Homs and Deir ez-Zor provinces.”