Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

TS320

Incident date

October 12, 2019

Location

تروازية checkpoint, Tirwaziya checkpoint, Raqqa , Syria

Geolocation

36.460242, 39.593628 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (other) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (other)

Airwars assessment

Two to three civilians were reportedly shot dead Turkish-backed forces in Raqqa governorate, according to multiple sources.

The combat status of two of the victims is unclear. @ahraralsharqia claimed that Turkish-backed forces captured “elements of PYD_YPG_PKK gangs”. However, @TurkeyUntold said that “two civilians and one fighter” were killed.

@TurkeyUntold published  avideo, statting: “The Turkish led group that cut the M4 this morning [Oct 12th] in NE #Syria, was Ahrar al-Sharqiyah, battalion 123. Their media guy here admits it. Clear they pull over civilians cars. Video ends after a gun shot sound.”

The New York Times published extensive information on the incident. It refers to the victims as “Kurdish captives”, adding this was a “a possible war crime”. The report says: “Turkish-backed Syrian Arab fighters killed at least two Kurdish prisoners on Saturday, one of them lying on the ground with his hands bound behind his back, in a powerful illustration of the forces unleashed by President Trump’s decision to pull back American troops shielding former Kurdish allies in northern Syria.

A video that captured one of the killings shows two of the Turkish-backed group’s fighters firing bullets at close range into the man with his hands tied while their colleagues shout ‘God is great!’ The second prisoner who was killed appears in the video alive and wearing a military uniform, but he is missing from the group’s later social media post about its captives.

‘The guy in the military outfit was neutralized,’ said Al Harith Rabah, a media activist with the Arab fighters who was at the scene.

The New York Times wrote: “The killing of two Kurdish captives by Arab fighters — a possible war crime — is an indication of the ethnically tinged hatreds flaring in the wake of President Trump’s pullback of American forces in the area. The move cleared the way for a Turkish military incursion into a northern Syria border area aimed at rooting out the Kurdish-led militia that had been the key American-allied ground force helping to wrest territory from the Islamic State.”

Amnesty International reported that “Ahrar al-Sharqiya fighters (…) captured and then killed at least two Kurdish fighters. They also abducted two civilian men, both of whom work with a local medical organization and were transporting medicine at the time they were captured. Family members confirmed to Amnesty International that their whereabouts remained unknown. Amnesty International verified the time and date of the videos showing that the summary killings and abduction of the two civilians carried out on the afternoon on 12 October.”

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • (2–3 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Translation: "Captures to elements of the gangs #PYD_YPG_PKK During the battles taking place north of Raqqa within the framework of the operation"
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Footage showing alleged Turkish forces shooting two prisoners dead in Raqqa, Oct 12th.
  • Translation: "With photos and pictures, brutality of the occupying Turkish state against civilians

Geolocation notes (4) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the Tirwaziya (تروازية) checkpoint, located on the M4 highway between Raqqa (الرقة) and Hassakah (الحسكة). Extensive research by Newsy & Bellingcat, and the BBC, show this location to be at these coordinates are:  36.460242, 39.593628. This is further confirmed by @GregoryPWaters.

  • Reports of the incident mention the Tirwaziya (تروازية) checkpoint, located on the M4 highway between Raqqa (الرقة) and Hassakah (الحسكة).

    Imagery:
    Google Earth

  • Distribution of points in video material according to one source.

    Imagery:
    @GregoryPWaters

  • Imagery:
    BBC

  • Imagery:
    Newsy & Bellingcat

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Turkish Armed Forces
  • Turkish Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • (2–3 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (8) [ collapse]