Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

RS3397

Incident date

April 7, 2018

Location

دوما, Douma, Damascus, Syria

Geolocation

33.573836, 36.404789 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

An alleged chemical weapons attack, attributed to both the Syrian regime and Russia, reportedly killed between 42 and 100 civilians and wounded up to 1,200 others in the city of Douma, Damascus governorate, on April 7th, 2018, according to local sources.

Enab Baladi wrote that “after a ten-day truce in the city of Douma, the last opposition stronghold in Eastern Ghouta, Assad’s forces and their ally Russia resumed bombing the city with warplanes, using poison gas again, amid reports that negotiations over the fate of the city had reached a dead end.”

In an initial report, Shaam News Network said: “Assad and Russia targeted residential areas in the city of Douma in the eastern Gouta with high-toxic toxic chemical weapons. The city was hit by rockets and explosive barrels containing these materials, killing 75 martyrs and causing more than 1,000 cases of suffocation”.

However, a second report from Shaam pointed only to the regime, claiming that “Assad’s forces used containing chemical gas believed to be sarin on a number of cellars and shelters, resulting in the martyrdom of entire families and injuring more than 1,200 people suffering from suffocation”.

Douma Revolution initially reported 700 cases of suffocation. In a later post, the source reported “the death of more than 100 martyrs and the wounding of at least 1000 civilians until now”.

SyriaTV reported on a joint statement by the Syrian Civil Defense and the Syrian American Medical Association (SAMS), which stated that “at 7:45 pm on Saturday evening, after the regime forces launched massive attacks on the city’s neighbourhoods, more than 500 emergency cases arrived at the medical points, most of them women and children who suffered symptoms of ‘respiratory slip, central cyanosis, frothy emission from the mouth and the emission of an odor. They smelled like chlorine and had a corneal burn.'”

The injured civilians reportedly suffered from a slow heart rate, rough bronchial purrs and wheezing. Medical teams treated the injured with “free moist oxygen” and bronchodilators. The statement also stated that “while the injuries were exacerbated in several cases, four of them were placed on the automatic ventilation system for children, and the injury resulted in the death of 6 cases, one of whom was a woman who was observed to have convulsions and pinpoint pupils.”

According to the statement, Civil Defence teams reported that more than 42 deaths with the same symptoms occured in civilian homes. SCD volunteers were unable to retrieve the victims’ bodies due to a lack of protective suits and the severity of the smell.

The Syrian Violations Documentation Center of Syria reported that prior to the chemical attack, around 12:00 at noon, alleged Syrian warplanes targeted the Red Crescent center in Douma with guided missiles and barrel bombs, which put the center and remaining ambulances out of service completely. Then, according to the VDC’s explanation of events, the warplanes dropped barrel bombs on the city, “which caused obstruction of the movement of civil defence vehicles and rescue teams that took over the task of treating the injured after all ambulances in the city went out of service.”

According to the VDC, civilians were forced to go out to basements and take cover. The next bombing, which “was heavily suspected of using highly concentrated toxic gases as well as chlorine”, immediately killed 42 civilians.

A volunteer with the Syrian Civil Defence told the VDC: “When the chemical attacks began, the smell of chlorine was reaching downtown Douma. We could not immediately determine the location of the chlorine missile. The bodies of the dead on the streets and the wounded were bleeding to death, without the medical personnel being able to intervene due to their scarcity and the very large volume of cases. Later, we discovered the bodies that had suffocated due to toxic gases. They were in a closed place sheltering from the barrel bombs, which may have caused their rapid death as no one heard their screams. It seems that some of them were trying to reach an open location because we found their bodies on the stairs. ”

Around 7:30 PM, alleged Syrian warplanes targeted the ‘Martyrs Square’ near the Numan Mosque with missiles suspected of being loaded with toxic gas, reported the VDC. A doctor told the VDC that the symptoms he observed on patients “are not similar to the symptoms of chlorine. Chlorine alone cannot cause such symptoms because chlorine suffocates but does not disrupt nerves. There were symptoms of organophosphorus compounds of which sarin gas is considered. But there was also the smell of chlorine everywhere. ”

Based on the available evidence, the VDC concluded that “this attack in this sequence was programmed and deliberately inflicted as much damage as possible to the civilian population. By isolating them from the rapid arrival of rescue and ambulance teams, and then forcing them to seek refuge in a closed place to take shelter from the violent bombing of barrel bombs. After that, their closed places of residence were bombed with poison gas.”

On June 25th, 2018, the New York Times Visual Investigation’s team published their investigation into the incident, titled “How Bashar al-Assad Gassed His Own People”. The investigation focused on one building where a chemical weapon was dropped. Based on the visual evidence, the investigators counted 34 victims in the building, spread across two floors.

According to the investigation, the bomb, loaded with chlorine, was dropped from the sky by regime helicopters. Chemical weapon experts told NYT investigators that the symptoms of the victims – a frothy emission from the mouth and corneal burn – indicated the use of chlorine gas. A US official reportedly told the New York Times that chlorine and sarin were found in the victim’s blood tests. According to the video, when civilians smell chlorine, they try to find a higher location and pour water over themselves. According to the investigators, this explains why many of the victims in the Douma attack were found on staircases and water sources.

Flight spotters reportedly saw the helicopters leave Dumayr Air Base between 7:16 and 7:23 PM in the direction of Douma and circling around Douma between 7:26 and 7:38 PM, around the time of the attack, according to NYT.

In total, local sources identified the names of 36 victims, among which at least eight children.

Nearly all sources blamed the Syrian regime for the chemical attack, but some sources mentioned Russia as well. Hence, this event is graded as contested.

The incident occured between 7:30 pm and 7:45 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Family members (6)

Family members (2)

Family members (2)

Family members (11)

Family members (4)

Family members (2)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    42 – 100
  • (8 children15 women21 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    700–1200
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Unknown, Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (58) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (92) [ collapse]

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    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The body of a child after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The body of a child after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The body of a child after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The body of a victim after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The body of a child after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The body of a young boy after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The bodies of children after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The body of a child after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The body of a victim after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The body of man, woman and child after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • Injured children receiving medical help after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    Injured victims receiving medical help after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • A victim in the hospital after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • Injured children receiving medical help after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • A child getting medical help after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • A child getting medical help after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • An injured child in the hospital after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • Aftermath of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • An injured child in the hospital after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • A man in the hospital after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The body of a child, who was killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    The bodies of victims killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • The body of a child, who was killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The body of a child, who was killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The body of a civilian, who was killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Bodies of civilians killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    A woman and a child dead as a result of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack in Douma on April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The body of a boy after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The body of a victim after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    The bodies of victims after alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical weapon attacks on Douma, April 7th, 2018 (via Douma Revolution).
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    Bodies of some of the civilians killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma Revolution).
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    Translation: Douma people bid farewell to their martyrs as a result of the Assad gangs bombing of Douma with missiles containing poisonous gases.
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    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
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    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
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    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
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    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Ghouta GMC)
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    Civilians killed as a result of the chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (Via SCD).
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    Civilians killed and injured in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 8th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
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    Civilians killed and injured in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 8th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
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    Civilians killed and injured in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 8th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
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    Civilians killed and injured in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 8th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
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    Civilians killed and injured in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 8th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
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    Civilians on the floor after being injured or killed by an alleged Russian forces or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • Children seem to be given oxygen after breathing difficulties as a result of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
  • Children seem to be given oxygen after breathing difficulties as a result of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
  • Children seem to be given oxygen after breathing difficulties as a result of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
  • Children seem to be given oxygen after breathing difficulties as a result of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
  • A child seem to be given oxygen after breathing difficulties as a result of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
  • A child seem to be given oxygen after breathing difficulties as a result of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
  • A child seem to be given oxygen after breathing difficulties as a result of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
  • A child seem to be given oxygen after breathing difficulties as a result of an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
  • A child who looks terrified after an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution).
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    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
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    Children killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
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    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Children killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Children killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Children killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Children killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Children killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child killed in an alleged Russian or Syrian regime chemical attack on Douma on April 7th, 2018. (via Douma.Revolution)

Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck in the city of Douma (دوما). Comparing audio-visual information from several sources, and confirming these against the investigation done by The New York Times, we were able to find the exact location at these coordinates:  33.573836, 36.404789.

  • The exact location of the alleged strike on a residential building in Douma (دوما).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Comparison of the landmarks identified by The New York Times investigation against satellite imagery available.

    Imagery:
    New York Times / Google Earth

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown 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
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    42 – 100
  • (8 children15 women21 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    700–1200
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Unknown, Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (58) [ collapse]