Up to 12 civilians, including between three and six children, were killed and up to 62 civilians were wounded in alleged Russian or Syrian regime airstrikes on the city of Ma’arat Misrin, Idlib governorate, on February 25th, 2020, according to local sources.
Whereas Shabha Press initially put the death toll at four killed civilians, they later updated this with “nine martyrs, including four children, and 30 civilians were wounded in a new toll as a result of airstrikes on the city of Ma’arat Misrin in the northern Idlib countryside”. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights stated that ten people were killed, including six children. The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported three children among those killed.
The Syrian Civil Defence in Idlib reported that 11 people were killed after airstrikes targeted a school housing displaced people, adding that search and rescue operations were ongoing. According to Shabha Press, a camp of displaced people was targeted. The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that “a center sheltering Internally Displaced People located inside a complex of two schools (Mounib Qamisheh school and Zuhair Radwan School)” was targeted.
Justice Organization reported the death of the girl Amal Al Aboud, whose family was displaced from the village of Afs, eastern Idlib countryside.
Images posted by @shaamnews show two or three children (one being a teenager) and two men receiving treatment for their injuries, along with the body of one of the children killed.
Shabha Press stated that there were several airstrikes. Macro Media Centre reported the use of vacuum missiles, while EMC reported the use of rockets.
Most sources blamed the Syrian regime for the attack, but Shaam News Network and Justice Organization pointed to both the Syrian regime and Russia as the belligerents for the attack.
In October 2020, Human Right Watch reported on the incident, writing that the airstrikes had damaged the Maarat Misreen Surgical Hospital (also known as Al-Hilal Hospital) across the street of Mounib Qamisheh primary school had been damaged by the strike. According to HRW, 12 civilians died and 62 more were wounded.
The report states: On February 25, an Idlib city resident accompanied his friend and his friend’s son to the hospital’s paediatrics department because the son needed a checkup. Dr. Khatib [director of the hospital] and the Idlib city resident said that they were inside the hospital at about 3 p.m. when they heard a loud bang, and the hospital’s windows and doors were blown out. They ran outside and said they saw that the yard in front of the school next door had been hit by a munition.”
HRW further reports that, according to flight spotters, a Russian-made SU-24 warplane was sighted in the area during the time of the attack: “Syria Sentry messages from flight spotters indicated that Russian-made Su-24 attack aircraft were in the area during the time of the attack, spotted in nearby Binnish (less than 7 kilometres to the southeast) at 3:35 p.m. and 3:52 p.m. and again sighted circling Maarat Misreen at 3:56 p.m. and 4 p.m. Numerous other sightings of aircraft identified as Russian “warplanes” and Su-24s were recorded by spotters in the area around Maarat Misreen during the previous hour. The Russian and Syrian air forces both fly the Su-24 in Syria.”
According to satellite imagery analysis by HRW, a potential impact location in the northern yard of the school could be seen two days after the attack. HRW concludes: “All of the witnesses interviewed said they knew of no military objectives in the vicinity before or at the time of the attack, nor were there signs of military weapons, equipment, or personnel in the imagery reviewed.”
The incident occured at approximately 3:00 pm local time.
- Amal Al Aboud Child female from the village of Afs killed