Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

TS372

Incident date

October 28, 2019

Location

Dibiş, Turkey

Geolocation

36.846659, 36.846659 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Three Kurdish civilians were reported killed after being executed allegedly by Turkish forces opposite to Dibis village in vicinity to Zirgan, in Ras Al Ain on the Turkish side of the border, on October 28th, 2019 according to local sources.

 

The incident occured during the day.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • 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 (4) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A civilian executed allegedly by Turkish forces in the Turkish side of the border opposite of Ras Al Ayn on October 28th 2019. (via@TurkeyUntold)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A civilian executed allegedly by Turkish forces in the Turkish side of the border opposite of Ras Al Ayn on October 28th 2019. (via@TurkeyUntold)
  • KRC list of civilians killed and injured between 09 October and 14 November 2019.

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Dibiş, allegedly in the vicinity of Zirgan. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Zirgan are: 36.846659, 40.329266.

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
    3
  • 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]

Incident Code

YS059

Incident date

October 20, 2019

Location

Uludere, Şırnak, Turkey

Airwars assessment

Between four and six civilians were wounded in an alleged YPG attack in Uludere, Şırnak, Turkey, according to local media.

aa.com reported: “Four villagers were injured in Turkey’s southeastern province of şırnak, on Sunday, when they were targeted by terrorists of the separatist organization PKK. According to information obtained by Anadoulu, the four villagers were on their way to collect firewood in the village of Ortasu, in the district of Uludre, when they were attacked.The injured were taken to şırnak Government Hospital by helicopter and undergoing treatment”.

Yeni safak named six wounded civilians from two families, also blaming YPG forces.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (4)

  • Ömer Benek male injured
  • Ethem Benek, son of Ömer Benek male injured
  • Mehmet Benek male injured
  • Yakup Benek male

Family members (2)

  • Ramazan Babat male injured
  • Mahmut Babat male injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • A wounded civilian receives treatment following an alleged YPG attack in Uludere, Şırnak, Turkey, Oct 20th (via Yeni Safak)

YPG forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    YPG forces
  • YPG 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
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Published

October 18, 2019

Written by

Oliver Imhof

Dozens of non combatants killed during latest Turkish attack on Kurdish regions of northern Syria.

Airwars monitors locally reported civilian harm from all Turkish air and artillery strikes in Iraq and Syria, as well as from Kurdish counterfire actions. Our database can be found here.

More than 120 civilian deaths have been locally alleged in eight days of fighting in northern Syria to October 16th, following a Turkish-led offensive, ‘Operation Peace Spring’, which began on October 9th.

In total Airwars researchers have tracked  between 102 and 126 reported civilian deaths resulting from air and artillery strikes by both sides. Between 71 and 85 fatalities were attributed to Turkish strikes by local sources in 64 incidents, while 31 to 41 non combatants were alleged killed by the People’s Protection Units (YPG) conducting counterfire strikes on Turkish and Syrian towns in 26 incidents.

Around 160,000 people have reportedly been displaced due to the fighting so far.

In the worst reported event to date, between 11 and 19 civilians were reported killed by a Turkish airstrike on a convoy heading from al-Jazira to Ras al-Ain. Four journalists were reportedly among those killed, and the strike supposedly injured up to 74 more people.

In addition, reports of executions of civilians have raised fears of more severe war crimes in the Kurdish-controlled parts of Northern Syria. The Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), of which the YPG is the backbone, had controlled the territory after defeating ISIS, with the loss of more than 12,000 Kurdish fighters. Observers fear that the jihadi organisation could resurface should the SDF lose control over ISIS prisons due to the Turkish offensive.

Both pictures are from Serêkaniyê after Turkish airstrikes on the city #TwitterKurds pic.twitter.com/bmLUdEf5dS

— Cahîda Dêrsim (@dersi4m) October 9, 2019

Historical data heightens worries for civilians

Casualty data from the latest Turkish incursion is included in a major online Airwars database, which maps all reported civilian harm in Iraq and Syria from alleged Turkish strikes since 2015. As many as 1,650 civilian deaths have been locally alleged in more than 360 incidents.

According to the Airwars grading system, between 433 and 763 civilians had already likely fallen victim to air and artillery strikes across three countries during two previous waves of Turkish attacks on Kurdish-controlled territories from 2015 until October 8th 2019.

Hostilities between the Turks and Kurds flared up shortly after Turkey briefly became involved in the anti-ISIS Coalition led by the US in Iraq and Syria in 2015. Ankara used the opportunity of intervention against ISIS to also attack the Kurds – who make up a large part of the population in the north of both countries. With Kurdish forces gaining strength over the course of the war, fears were sparked in Ankara of an independent Kurdistan which might pose a threat to Turkey’s ambition as a major regional power.

Turkish strikes also heavily targeted ISIS, in particular during the Battle for Al Bab at the end of 2016. That city was almost entirely destroyed in the fighting and between 308 and 585 civilians reportedly killed by Turkish actions, according to Airwars data. In parallel, Turkey has occasionally targeted Kurdish forces in northern Iraq where it also maintains a permanent military presence. The number of civilians killed there has been comparatively low, with Airwars research indicating between 24 and 29 fatalities to date.

Fighting between Turkish and Kurdish forces once again escalated during Turkey’s ‘Operation Olive Branch’ in early 2018. That campaign, launched on January 20th by the Turkish military in cooperation with the rebel Free Syrian Army (FSA), targeted the canton of Afrin in northwest Syria near the Turkish border. The invasion targeted Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), mostly made up of the Kurdish People’s Protection Units (YPG). The SDF until then had controlled the Afrin canton, a de facto autonomous region in the mountainous border area. Ankara considers the YPG to be the Syrian arm of the Kurdish Workers’ Party (PKK) which it deems a terrorist organisation.

Frontlines during the 2018 Afrin campaign (via Wikimedia)

With Turkish and FSA forces progressing quickly through Afrin, the alliance took full control of the canton on March 24th 2018 after eight weeks of fighting. The operation drew heavy criticism at the time from various governments, which insisted that Turkey’s security concerns did not justify an invasion of neighbouring territory. Following the capture of the regional capital of Afrin city by Turkish forces, the SDF began an insurgency.

Over the past 18 months, Turkish military action had mostly involved sporadic clashes in Afrin and occasional airstrikes in the Kurdish regions of Syria and Iraq, allegedly causing occasional civilian casualties. After the Kurds invited Syrian regime troops into parts of their remaining territory, a Turkish invasion had appeared less likely, given that Ankara does not want a confrontation with the two battle-hardened forces. US and Russian forces had also acted as buffers.

Instead the Turkish military increasingly made use of targeted killings to impair the Kurds, some of which were conducted by the newly designed Bayraktar TB2 drone that is also being heavily used in Libya.

This standoff between the two foes came to an end following President Donald Trump’s abrupt recent decision to abandon the Kurds and withdraw US troops from Syria This led directly to the latest Turkish offensive – which has the stated goal of creating a buffer zone between the two countries.

We defeated 100% of the ISIS Caliphate and no longer have any troops in the area under attack by Turkey, in Syria. We did our job perfectly! Now Turkey is attacking the Kurds, who have been fighting each other for 200 years….

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 10, 2019

Third escalation

In response to the Turkish invasion, Kurdish forces struck a Russian-brokered deal with the Assad regime to help protect their Syrian territory – where they have enjoyed de-facto autonomy for several years. That agreement has raised fears of an open confrontation between Damascus and Ankara at their border. However, the Russian government seems intent on avoiding that scenario so far.

However, a Kurdish withdrawal as in Afrin seems unlikely on this occasion. Greater involvement by the Assad regime and Russia, both accused of deliberately targeting civilian neighbourhoods and institutions throughout the Syrian civil war, could mean new horrors for local populations.

In the most recent development, US Vice President Pence struck a reported ceasefire deal with Turkish President Erdogan on October 17th. That agreement pauses fighting for 120 hours – during which the Kurds are required to withdraw from a 32 km ‘safe zone’ between the two countries. With the Kurds rejecting any occupation by Turkey – while Syrian regime and Russian troops flow into the area – it is presently unclear how likely any such deal is to hold.

US and Turkey reach an agreement to suspend military operation in Syria against the Kurds.-YPG leaving heavy weapons and withdraw its troops from the "safe zone",444km wide,32km deep.-Turkish side will pause 120 hours to allow Kurdish fighters to withdraw from the safe-zone. pic.twitter.com/eVnhZPtuC0

— Military Advisor (@miladvisor) October 17, 2019

▲ Destruction after alleged Turkish shelling on Ayn Diwar on October 11 (via ANF)

Incident Code

YS048

Incident date

October 15, 2019

Location

Kızıltepe, Turkey

Airwars assessment

Two or three civilians from the same famiy were reported killed and 11 or 12 others injured in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe in Mardin, Turkey, on October 15th 2019, according to local media sources.

According to Nusaybinden.com, the attack was launched from the Syrian side of Dırbasiye’den. Hacı Halil Türkoğlu and his nephew Bedran Türkoğlu were killed in the attack and buried in their village which is now in the process of being evacuated.

Cizre Habere Bak said the number of fatalities rose to three and named the third victim as Nurettin Türkoğlu.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • Civilians reported injured
    10–12
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (16) [ collapse]

  • Grieving family member of two civilians reported killed in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe, Turkey on October 15th 2019. (Via nusaybinden.com).
  • Burial of civilians reported killed in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe, Turkey on October 15th 2019. (Via nusaybinden.com).
  • A family member of two civilians reported killed in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe, Turkey on October 15th 2019. (Via nusaybinden.com).
  • Burial of two civilians reported killed in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe, Turkey on October 15th 2019. (Via nusaybinden.com).
  • Burial of two civilians reported killed in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe, Turkey on October 15th 2019. (Via nusaybinden.com).
  • Burial of two civilians reported killed in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe, Turkey on October 15th 2019. (Via nusaybinden.com).
  • Burial of two civilians reported killed in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe, Turkey on October 15th 2019. (Via nusaybinden.com).
  • Grieving family member of two civilians reported killed in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe, Turkey on October 15th 2019. (Via nusaybinden.com).
  • Burial of two civilians reported killed in an alleged YPG mortar attack on Kızıltepe, Turkey on October 15th 2019. (Via nusaybinden.com).
  • Footage of the strike.
  • Images for the aftermath of the strike on Kızıltepe, Oct 15th (via TRT)
  • Images for the aftermath of the strike on Kızıltepe, Oct 15th (via TRT)
  • Images for the aftermath of the strike on Kızıltepe, Oct 15th (via TRT)
  • Images for the aftermath of the strike on Kızıltepe, Oct 15th (via TRT)
  • Images for the aftermath of the strike on Kızıltepe, Oct 15th (via Cizre Habere Bak)

YPG forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    YPG forces
  • YPG forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2 – 3
  • Civilians reported injured
    10–12
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Incident Code

YS043

Incident date

October 14, 2019

Location

Ceylanpınar, Turkey

Geolocation

36.853051, 40.047396 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

District

Airwars assessment

One man was injured after alleged PYD militias attacked the district of Ceylanpınar, Şanlıurfa province. According to Hasaka News, the PYD militia targeted the district with 23 machine-guns.

Currently, more information is unavailable to Airwars.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Photo showing damage of residential buildings after an alleged PYD attack in the Ceylanpınar district on October 14th 2019 (via Hasaka News).
  • Photo showing damage of residential buildings after an alleged PYD attack in the Ceylanpınar district on October 14th 2019 (via Hasaka News).
  • Photo showing damage of residential buildings after an alleged PYD attack in the Ceylanpınar district on October 14th 2019 (via Hasaka News).

YPG forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    YPG forces
  • YPG forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TS339

Incident date

October 13–14, 2019

Location

Çetelê, Hassakah, Syria

Geolocation

37.054215, 40.615113 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

One civilian was reported killed in alleged Turkish artillery shelling on Çetelê.

ANHA reported: “Izedîn Mehmûd El Yûsif, who was seriously wounded in the cannon shots of Dirbêsiyê’s village of Çetelê, was martyred in the hospital this morning.

The invading Turkish army attacked Dirbêsiyê district and villages with cannon shots yesterday evening.

One of the cannons fired by the Turkish army hit the home of a civilian named Izedîn Mehmûd El Yûsif in the village of Çetelê in the west of the district. Izedîn Mehmûd El Yûsif, who was seriously injured in the incident, was taken to the hospital in Hesekê and put under treatment.

Izedîn Mehmûd al-Yûsif was treated in the hospital where he was martyred in the morning.”

North Press Agency reported one killed and three wounded civilians. Zana Amedi said the same.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Izedîn Mehmûd El Yûsif 52 years old male killed
  • Muzafer Mahmud Yusif. Age unknown male injured
  • Taha Mahmud Yusif Adult male injured
  • Mirfet Ahmad, 35 years old female injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • 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 (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Pictures of the alleged victims and the aftermath
  • Picture of Izedîn Mehmûd El Yûsif (via ANHA)

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
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–3
  • 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 (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

YS045

Incident date

October 15, 2019

Location

Suruç, Turkey

Geolocation

36.975057, 38.424221 Note: The accuracy of this location is to District level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

District

Airwars assessment

One civilian was injured after alleged YPG or PKK shelling strikes on Suruç district on October 13th 2019, according to Anadolu Agency.

AA reported that the shelling targeted residential areas of the district. The injured civilian was taken to Suruç State Hospital for treatment. Three houses were damaged by the strike.

@MSHNLP tweeted that their aunt’s home in Çaykara village in Suruç District was hit by a mortar shell, allegedly coming from YPG troops in Kobani.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Footage of alleged YPG or PKK shelling strikes on Suruç district on October 13th 2019 (via @webmedya1).
  • Photo of a damaged civilian house after alleged YPG or PKK artillery strikes on Çaykara village in Suruç district, Turkey, on October 13th 2019 (via @MSHNLP).
  • Photo of a damaged civilian house after alleged YPG or PKK artillery strikes on Çaykara village in Suruç district, Turkey, on October 13th 2019 (via @MSHNLP).
  • Footage of alleged YPG or PKK shelling strikes on Suruç district on October 13th 2019 (via @seyyahnews).
  • Footage of alleged YPG or PKK shelling strikes on Suruç district on October 13th 2019 (via @trthaber).

YPG forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    YPG forces
  • YPG forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

YS041

Incident date

October 11, 2019

Location

Nusaybin, Turkey

Geolocation

37.07748, 41.216555 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Up to eight civilians were killed and 35 were wounded in alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the city of Nusaybin, Mardin, as reported by several local sources.

@op_shield initially reported five killed, but all other sources noted the death of eight civilians. According to CNN Turkey, the governor of Nusaybin, a Kurdish majority city, released a statement in which he blamed the YPG and/or PKK for shooting mortar and rocket projectiles into the city.

HASAKHNNEWS reported on Facebook that the shelling on Nusaybin came from YGP militias in the Syrian city of Qamlishi.

The wounded were treated in the Nusaybin and Mardin state hospitals, according to CNN Turkey.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 8
  • Civilians reported injured
    35
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (12) [ collapse]

  • Aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via @op_shield).
  • Aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via @ragipsoylu).
  • Aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via @ragipsoylu).
  • Aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via CNN Turkey).
  • Aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via CNN Turkey).
  • Aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via CNN Turkey).
  • Footage of the aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via @aa_arabic).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via @aa_arabic).
  • Aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via @aa_arabic).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Footage of the aftermath of alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (via @Dmkt1).
  • TRT World report on alleged SDF/YPG or PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019 (SelimAtalayNY).
  • Mehmet Sirin Demir, who was killed in alleged YPG/PKK artillery strikes on the Turkish city of Nusaybin on October 11th 2019. Here pictured with his daughter, journalist Gülay Demir (via @eha_news).

YPG forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    YPG forces
  • YPG forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 8
  • Civilians reported injured
    35
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    YPG forces

Sources (18) [ collapse]