Four civilians were reportedly killed, among them a mother and her two children, and up to seventeen civilians, including seven children and seven women, were injured in alleged Russian and Syrian regime airstrikes on the down of Tal Mardikh, Idlib governorate, on December 19th, 2019. Many injured remained in critical condition.
The LCCSY reported five Russian airstrikes on the town of Mardikh on December 19th between 8:59 AM and 9:34 AM local time. The fourth raid at 9:22 AM allegedly injured four children. LCCSY also reported that “two raids with two helicopters targeted Mardikh village at 10:32 AM. As a result, Abdel Malik Ramadan Al Shabib was killed and eight civilians, including children, were injured”. According to RAJASSE, two consecutive raids followed later resulting in the death of Ayush Muhammad Al-Gharib (30), Khaled Muhammad Abdullah Habra (3) and Zainab Hassan Habra (9).
While Fresh Syria reported that only two civilians were killed, the majority of sources reported that four people were killed, including one woman, two children and a man. According to Zaman Al-Wasl, among the victims were a mother and her two children. 12 others were critically injured according to Syria Nour. SMART News Agency reported instead that “seventeen others were wounded, including seven children and seven women”. Pictures of the incident show at least three injured children.
The Syrian Civil Defence (SCD) reported that their volunteers were targeted by Russian double raids while they were working to save civilians injured from earlier strikes. Video footage shows the SCD during their rescue operation, when two consecutive explosions hit the area while they were attempting to free victims from rubble.
The footages also shows SCD and civilians attempting to rescue victims, including a crying young girl, from below the rubble. The girl is reportedly called Islam Hussein Habra (9), who lost her family in the attack. She was freed after “about an hour and a half of continuous work and risks due to repeated Russian raids on the same site”, according to @khaleedalkhteb. In the videos, the girl can be overheard asking repeatedly “Where is my mother?”. Syria-24 reported that the girl got stuck under the rubble when roof of her house fell down on her as a result of the raids.
Alhurra quoted the SCD volunteer Abdullah saying: “I couldn’t leave the girl, while you’re trying to save someone, you have to keep talking to him until you finish the rescue. We could not tell her that her mother was killed, we tried to make her forget the situation she was in.” He continued, “Habra’s mother was alive when we arrived at the site of the attack, we could hear her voice from under the rubble, but after the second air strike, she became silent and we did not hear her anymore, she was killed.”
Syria Violations Monitoring quoted Islam’s uncle, Aziz Al-Mohammed, saying: “The worst day in my life… After struggling for hours, I was able to pull out the body of my niece (who is like my mother) to bury her with my own hands. The martyr, the kind and cheerful child, Zainab Hassan Habra, 7 years old, and they named her when she was born in 2012, after the Homsi martyr Zainab Al-Husni. I had taken her 4-year-old brother, Hamza, to the hospital to save him from a fractured skull. I always wished not to be in this situation, but God’s will wanted that and we are satisfied with what he wrote and what he wanted….”
The Syrian Network for Human Rights blamed the attack on on the Syrian regime, who allegedly dropped several barrel bombs with helicopter. SMART News Agency claimed instead that the attack consisted of missile strikes fired by Russian warplanes. According to Zaman Al-Wasl, more than eight raids were conducted in total.
The incident occured between 8:59 am and 10:32 am local time.
The victims were named as:
Family members (5)
- Islam Hussein Habra 9 years old female injured
- Ayush Muhammad Al-Gharib 30 years old female Allegedly the mother of Islam killed
- Khaled Muhammad Abdullah Habra 3 years old male killed
- Zainab Hassan Habra 9 years old female killed
- Hamza years old male Brother of Islam injured
- Abdel Malik Ramadan Al Shabib 36 years old male allegedly killed in helicopter strikes killed