Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

RS4504

Incident date

March 5, 2020

Location

معرة مصرين, Ma’aret Misrin, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

Up to 16 civilians, including between two and five children and 5 to seven women, were killed and up to 35 civilians, including two women and four children were wounded in alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma’aret Misrin, Idlib governorate, on March 5th, 2020, according to local sources.

@seerij80 tweeted 14 names of some of the civilians who were killed: Mohammed Hussein Harkoush, an Unknown woman, Mohammed Mustafa Eid, Mohammed al Hussein Saleh Harkoush, Mohammed Al Saleh Harkoush, Ahmad Al Ghadban, Yasser Hamoud, Aya Salem Qoutaish, Maya Salem Qoutaish, Irein Mohammed Qoutaish, Jamila Ibrahim Al Saleh, Yaza Hamoud, Zainab Harkoush, Fatima Harkoush and Ibrahim Harkoush. Other sources reported the civilian death toll as high as 16.

Edlib Media Center reported that there were “civilian martyrs and wounded as a result of Russian occupation warplanes targeting a building inhabited by displaced people near the city of Maarat Misrin, north of Idlib, at dawn today [March 5th, 2020].”

Multiple sources added that most of the civilians harmed by the strike had been women and children, Smart News reported that 7 of the civilian deaths were women. Others reported as many as 5 of the civilian deaths were children.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that “the presence of at least 18 wounded people, some of them in critical conditions, in addition to information about other martyrs, as rescue teams continue to remove the rubble and search for missing persons”. Other sources reported that the number of injured was as high as 35.

Witnesses told Smart News Agency that the Russian warplanes targeted a farm inhabited by displaced people from the Ma’arat Al Numan area, killing nine civilians and wounding 20. The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported the farm was a poultry farm. According to SOHR, the victims are displaced people from Hama, Aleppo and other areas of Idlib.

Ahmed Sheikho, director of the Syrian Civil Defence Media office in Idlib told Smart News Agency that “Russian warplanes launched two raids on a farm inhabited by displaced families in the vicinity of the city of Ma’arat Misrin, killing 16 civilians, including seven women and two children, and wounding 21 others, including two children and four women”. Edlib Media Center reported that 32 people were wounded.

The airstrike took place around 2-3:00am and hit derelict farm buildings in which displaced families had been seeking refuge.

Bab Al Taka added that 6 of the civilians killed had previously been residents of “Bab al-Taqa village”. Other sources reported Aleppo and Hama as other areas where the displaced people living in Ma’aret Misrin had previously fled from.

Reuters reported on the ensuing situation of talks between President Putin and Erdogan, where “Putin expressed his regret to Erdogan over the recent killing of 34 Turkish soldiers in an air strike, saying that the Syrian army did not know their whereabouts. Civil defense workers helping to clear the rubble and search for survivors said that at least 16 civilians were killed”.

Human rights watch later reported that “at least five munitions” had hit the buildings in which “14 displaced families were living”. The Human rights watch source also gave the harrowing account of a man and his son who said “For some families, no one was left. For other families, only one or two people survived, and they left. Others whose shelter was destroyed also left. We are the only family who stayed behind, because we found a room nearby. We didn’t stay willingly, but we have nowhere else to go…”

A witness described the scene as “I saw a woman and her husband under the rubble with their daughter, who was about 6 years old. The man was waving his hand for help… I dug the girl out from under the rubble and placed her on a mattress on the ground while we waited for the ambulance. Suddenly, an airplane dropped a complete load of [munitions] on us. I heard a huge bang and the explosion threw me to the ground and I couldn’t move. My clothes got ripped off. I finally stood up afterwards and realized I had burns to my head and could not hear from one ear.”

Human rights watch added that “the area where he had laid the girl down had been blown up, killing the girl, he said. Two SCD volunteers who arrived after the first two munitions hit found seven people wounded, whom they took to hospital. Several team members remained there when the next set of munitions hit, killing some of those who had been wounded in the first set of strikes.”

According to Human Rights Watch, “All 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.”

Human Rights Watch also identified “Sentry messages sent that morning between 2 a.m. and 2:30 a.m., on the messaging app Telegram, included continuous sightings of a Russian aircraft in the area and the COI, in the report it released in July 2020, said it had “reasonable grounds to believe” the attack had been carried out by Russia.” The vast majority of other sources that reported on the incident attributed the strikes to Russia, with only Shaam News mentioning both Russian and regime planes carrying out strikes. Therefore, we grade this as likely carried out by Russian forces.

The incident occured around dawn.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Yaza Hamoud killed
  • Yasser Hamoud killed

Family members (3)

  • Aya Salem Qoutaish killed
  • Maya Salem Qutaish killed
  • Irene Muhammad Qutish Child female killed

Family members (6)

  • Mohammed Hussein Harkoush killed
  • Mohammed al Hussein Saleh Harkoush killed
  • Mohammed Al Saleh Harkoush killed
  • Zainab Harkoush killed
  • Fatima Harkoush killed
  • Ibrahim Harkoush killed
  • Ahmad Al Ghadban Age unknown killed
  • Jamila Ibrahim Al Saleh Age unknown killed
  • Mohammed Mustafa Eid Age unknown killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    9 – 16
  • (2–5 children5–7 women2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–35
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime

Sources (51) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (67) [ collapse]

  • Belongings of civilians after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SOHR).
  • Damage after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SOHR).
  • Destroyed building after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SOHR).
  • Damage after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SOHR).
  • Child walking in rubble after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SOHR).
  • A Syrian Civil Defence volunteer carrying a killed or injured child after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SCD).
  • Syrian Civil Defence volunteer holding a child victim in an ambulance after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SCD).
  • Syrian Civil Defence volunteers carrying a victim after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SCD).
  • Syrian Civil Defence volunteers carrying a victim after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SCD).
  • Syrian Civil Defence volunteers carrying a victim into an ambulance after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via EMC).
  • Destroyed building after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via EMC).
  • Aftermath of alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via EMC).
  • Aftermath of alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via SNN).
  • Syrian Civil Defence volunteers carrying a victim into an ambulance after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via EMC).
  • Footage of the aftermath of alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Mission on March 5th, 2020 (via @IdlibPlus).
  • Syrian Civil Defence volunteers carrying a victim into an ambulance after alleged Russian airstrikes on a farm housing displaced people near Ma'arat Misrin on March 5th, 2020 (via @SyrianCoalition).
  • Damaged building near Ma'arat Misrin after alleged Russian airstrikes on March 5th, 2020 (via SNHR).
  • Child standing in front of the destoyed farm near Ma'arat Misrin after alleged Russian airstrikes on March 5th, 2020 (via SNN).
  • Damaged poultry farm near Ma'arat Misrin after alleged Russian airstrikes on March 5th, 2020 (via SNN).
  • Damaged building near Ma'arat Misrin after alleged Russian airstrikes on March 5th, 2020 (via SNN).
  • Damaged building after alleged Russian airstrikes on March 5th, 2020 (via SNN).
  • Destruction near Ma'arat Misrin after alleged Russian airstrikes on March 5th, 2020 (via SNN).
  • Damaged poultry farm near Ma'arat Misrin after alleged Russian airstrikes on March 5th, 2020 (via SNN).
  • Destruction near Ma'arat Misrin after alleged Russian airstrikes on March 5th, 2020 (via SNN).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of a child killed in airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @fatina_sam98)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of a child critically injured from airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @fatina_sam98)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @EyadHoms20)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @EyadHoms20)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @EyadHoms20)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @EyadHoms20)
  • Rescue workers with one of the victims of airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @zamanalwsl)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @zamanalwsl)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @zamanalwsl)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @zamanalwsl)
  • One of the victims of airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @zamanalwsl)
  • "A horrific massacre committed by Russian warplanes on the outskirts of the city of Maarat Misrin, north of Idlib The raids targeted poultry farms and around them some rooms and tents, all inhabited by displaced people from the southern countryside of Idlib" (Image posted by @anasanas84)
  • "A horrific massacre committed by Russian warplanes on the outskirts of the city of Maarat Misrin, north of Idlib The raids targeted poultry farms and around them some rooms and tents, all inhabited by displaced people from the southern countryside of Idlib" (Image posted by @anasanas84)
  • "A horrific massacre committed by Russian warplanes on the outskirts of the city of Maarat Misrin, north of Idlib The raids targeted poultry farms and around them some rooms and tents, all inhabited by displaced people from the southern countryside of Idlib" (Image posted by @anasanas84)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @Sy24ria)
  • Rescue workers help victims of airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @Sy24ria)
  • Rescue workers help victims of airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @Sy24ria)
  • Rescue workers help victims of airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @Sy24ria)
  • Arabic names of those killed in airstrikes on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by @seerij80)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of a man killed in airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Misrine news via Facebook)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of a child critically injured from airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Misrine news via Facebook)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Enab Baladi News)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Enab Baladi News)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Enab Baladi News)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Enab Baladi News)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Enab Baladi News)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Enab Baladi News)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Enab Baladi News)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Enab Baladi News)
  • Destruction caused by airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Enab Baladi News)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of Muhammad Mustafa Eid, killed in airstrikes on Ma’aret Misrin on March 5, 2020. (Image posted by Al Mastouma coordinate via Facebook)

Russian Military Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Russian Military
  • Russian Military position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Syrian Regime Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Regime
  • Syrian Regime position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    9 – 16
  • (2–5 children5–7 women2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–35
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime

Sources (51) [ collapse]