Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

TI059

Incident date

May 26, 2021

Location

بهيري, Behri, Dohuk, Iraq

Geolocation

37.240802, 42.824356 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

At least two civilians were injured in alleged Turkish airstrikes on the village of Behri in the Zakho District at 2:30am on May 26th, 2021.

Kurdistan24 reported that two brothers were wounded “as a result of repeated Turkish artillery shelling”. Asharq News also reported that two people were injured, adding that they were both sheep herders and were severely injured.

Roj News identified the names of the civilians: “two shepherds came from the Shengal area, Hassan Mohsen and Ali Mohsen, while they were transferred to a hospital in Dohuk. The condition of one of them is critical.”

According to a report by Christian Peacemaker Teams, “at 2:30 in the morning, the Turkish military shelled Bhere village, west of Kesta mountain in Darkar sub-district, Zakho district.The flying shrapnel wounded two brothers: Ali Muhsin, 16 years old, and Hasan Muhsin, 20 years old. Both of whom were guarding a flock of a thousand sheep and sleeping at the time of the attack.”

Basnews provided information that the village that was bombed was a stronghold of PKK militants and that “the two brothers, Hassan and Ali Mohsen Al-Masban, [are] from a displaced family from Shengal, work as shepherds in the area for a monthly wage. One of them told the (Basnews) reporter that they were asleep at the time of the bombing.”

All of the sources attributed the strikes to Turkey.

The incident occured at 2:30 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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 (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Caption translation: a Turkish bombardment hit the village of Bhairi in the sub-district early in the morning Today, Wednesday, two brothers were injured. (Image posted by basnews)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Behri (بهيري), allegedly located within the Zakho (زاخو) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. According to research, there is a Behri Cave (كهف بهيري) located within this area, which could be in the vicinity of the village. The generic coordinates for Behri Cave are: 37.240802, 42.824356.

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
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • 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 (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI058

Incident date

May 25, 2021

Location

ادني, Edny, Dohuk, Iraq

Geolocation

34.169204, 46.354309 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

At least one civilian was injured in alleged Turkish shelling on Edny village in Amedi district (Amadiyah) of Dohuk governorate on May 25, 2021.

According to Rudaw Media Network, “Turkish shelling today resulted in the injury of a young man from the village of “Dishish” with bleeding, and he was taken to Kani Masi Hospital for treatment.” In addition, “the director of Kani Masi district, Serbast Sabri, told Rudaw Media Network that six families were living in the village of “Adni”, but as a result of the intense bombardment, they were forced to evacuate the village and flee to “Gomri” village.”

Rudaw Media Network added that the shelling was part of the Turkish military operation “Lightning Claw – Thunderbolt”, which they cite is due to the presence of Workers’ Party fighters in the region, targeting Mount Kista and the villages of the Kani Masi area with air and artillery bombardments.

Kurdistan24 and Roj News also reported that one civilian was injured in the Turkish bombardment of the Kani Masi area.

Basnews identified the civilian injured as Baawer Ahmed Taher, a young man from the village of Dashishi, who was returning to the village that was evacuated to water an orchard. At the time of reporting, the civilian was “lying in the hospital to receive treatment.”

In a report by Christian Peacemaker Teams, “Bawer was with a group of farmers from Dishishe, all of whom were irrigating their fields when the Turkish military conducted an artillery shelling on the village. Bawer Ahmed, who is 20 years old, was injured from shrapnel that penetrated his leg, which caused severe bleeding. After this attack, all residents of Dishishe fled the village.”

All of the sources that reported on the incident attributed the shelling to Turkish forces.

The incident occured at 10:30 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or 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
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • Caption translation: Turkish shelling today resulted in the injury of a young man from the village of "Dishish" with bleeding, and he was taken to Kani Masi Hospital for treatment. (Image posted by Rudaw Media Network)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Edny (ادني), allegedly in the vicinity of Kani Masi (كاني ماسي). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Kani Masi are: 34.169204, 45.354309.

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
    Airstrike and/or 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
    Turkish Armed Forces

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

YS104

Incident date

May 2, 2021

Location

عفرين, Afrin, Aleppo, Syria

Airwars assessment

At least one civilian, a child, was killed and two others, including a woman, were injured in alleged Kurdish or regime strikes on Afrim in the northern countryside of Aleppo on May 2, 2021.

The Syrian Civil Defense reported “the killing of the child “Alia Rahim, 5 years old, and the wounding of a woman and a man, as a result of missile strikes from areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the regime forces in the northern countryside of Aleppo.” Various other sources gave the slain child’s age as three years old.

SCD also added that the child’s family had been displaced “from the southern countryside of Aleppo” and Shaam specified that her family “lives in a tent after she was displaced… from the village of Al-Batrana.” The Syrian Network for Human Rights added that the man and woman injured were the child’s parents and Baladi News reported that the parents were seriously injured and taken to the city hospital.

EdlibEmc1 also reported “a child was killed and others were injured due to artillery shelling by separatist Kurdish parties on the city of Afrin, north of Aleppo.”

The Turkish Ministry of Defense stated that the YPG had launched “8 cannons / rockets in the area where the fields are located in Afrin, Olive Branch, injured the mother, her child and a villager,” adding that the child could not be saved.

The Syrian Documentation Center reported that “more than 12 rockets” struck the neighborhood while 7al only identified six shells and located the strikes on the road to Jenderes. Radio Al Kul gave the specific location of the attacks as hitting “the Al-Jadida farm, south of Afrin.”

The majority of sources attributed the strikes to Kurdish forces. However, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that “it is not known yet if regime forces or Kurdish forces fired these rockets.” They also added that the area hit is under the control of “Turkish forces and their proxy factions” and just a few days prior, Turkish forces had shelled “the Kurdish-controlled villages of Bainah and Sawaghnah in Shirawa district in Afrin countryside.” A tweet from @anasanas84 also blamed the attack on “the Al-Assad and Qasd gangs.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces, YPG forces
  • Suspected target
    Other

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • Caption translation: The killing of the child “Alia Rahim, 5 years old, and the wounding of a woman and a man, as a result of missile strikes from areas controlled by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the regime forces in the northern countryside of Aleppo. The body of the child and secured the place. (Image posted Syrian Civil Defense)
  • Caption translation: A five-year-old girl, named as Aliaa Rahim, was killed and her parents were injured in shelling by Syrian Democratic Forces who used a missile launcher to bombard a residential area in the center of Afrin city in the northern suburbs of Aleppo governorate on May 2. (Image posted by Syrian Network for Human Rights)
  • Screengrab taken from a video posted by the Turkish ministry of Defense on Twitter about the alleged Kurdish shelling on Afrin on May 2, 2021.
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Caption translation: A child was killed and a woman was injured as a result of artillery shelling by the Syrian Democratic Forces targeting the city of Afrin in the northern countryside of Aleppo. (Image posted by @zelal_abo_adnan)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Caption translation: The death of the three-year-old girl, Alia, and the injury of her mother as a result of artillery shelling by the SDF that targeted the city of Afrin, west of Aleppo, this morning, Sunday, May 2. (Image posted by @firas_alkhalifa)

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

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

YPG forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    Syrian Regime Armed Forces, YPG forces
  • Suspected target
    Other

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Incident Code

IRI003

Incident date

April 14, 2021

Location

جيدو, Gedo, Mosul, Iraq

Geolocation

36.535571, 43.357887 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

At least one civilian, a child, was injured in addition to a Turkish soldier being killed in alleged Iranian-affiliated militia strikes on the village of Gedo in Kurdistan Iraq on April 14, 2021.

According to Rudaw, the Turkish Ministry of Defense announced “a missile attack was carried out on the village of Gedo in Bashiqa, northern Iraq, tonight, and one of the three missiles that were fired at the base area and the other rockets inside the village fell. Our condolences to his dear family and to all the Turkish armed forces, and the speedy recovery of the injured child.”

Rudaw Media Network also named the civilian injured: “a 12-year-old girl from the Arab component named Faiza Mahmoud from Godad village in Zilkan district was injured as a result of the attack.” They also identified the attack as occurring at 9:10 and determined that 3-4 missiles were launched.

Multiple sources, including Shafaq News, reported that the girl’s injuries were “moderate.”

Basnews added that the base that was struck with a missile was located in the ” Bashiqa base area in northern Iraq” in Zelikan district and ANF News reported that “there are about 600 Turkish soldiers in the base.”

Many of the sources that reported on the incident identified the source of the rockets as unknown. However, multiple sources linked the attacks to a “drone [that] dropped explosives near U.S. forces stationed at Erbil airport” around the same time, an attack which was identified as being praised and claimed by Iranian-affiliated militias.

Fair Observer reported that “According to a statement by the deputy governor of Mosul, Rafet Simo, the rocket launchpads targeting the base were found in the area controlled by the 30th brigade of Hashd al-Shaabi [ — an Iranian-backed Iraqi militia umbrella group also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)]” Tweets from @abdullahawez and @L_Team10 explicitly refer to Iran-affiliated militias as being responsible for the missile strikes.

The Kurdistan Region President issued a statement condemning “the terrorist attacks that targeted Erbil International Airport and a site of Turkish forces tonight in Bashiqa.”

The incident occured at 9:10 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (10) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    At least one civilian, a child, was injured in addition to a Turkish soldier being killed in strikes on the village of Gedo in Kurdistan Iraq on April 14, 2021. (Image provided by Rudaw News Network)
  • A Turkish soldier was killing in missile attacks on a Turkish military base in Bashiqa on April 14, 2021 (Image from Turkeynow)
  • INFO(+Map, Photo): about the attack against a Turkish base Militias affiliated with #Iran hit the Turkish Armed Forces' Mosul / #Bashika base with 3 missiles. Injured were brought to the local hospital. (Images posted by @L_Team10)
  • INFO(+Map, Photo): about the attack against a Turkish base Militias affiliated with #Iran hit the Turkish Armed Forces' Mosul / #Bashika base with 3 missiles. Injured were brought to the local hospital. (Images posted by @L_Team10)
  • Launching ramps used in the attack against the Turkish base in #Bashika (Images posted by @L_Team10)
  • Rocket attack against Turkish military base north of Mosul, Iraq (Image posted by @Mahyar3138)
  • A damaged house is seen after a rocket attack on a military compound, at a village in Bashiqa region, Iraq, April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Ari Jalal
  • A girl lies next to her relatives after she was injured during last night's rocket attack on a military compound at a village in Bashiqa region, Iraq, April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Ari Jalal
  • People stand next to a damaged house after a rocket attack on a military compound, at a village in Bashiqa region, Iraq, April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Ari Jalal

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Gedo (جيدو), for which the generic coordinates are: 36.535571, 43.357887. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Incident Code

YS103

Incident date

March 30, 2021

Location

طريق اعزاز - عفرين, Azaz - Afrin road, Aleppo, Syria

Airwars assessment

At least one civilian, a child, was injured from a strike that was allegedly launched by the YPG on the Azaz – Afrin road, north of Aleppo on March 30, 2021.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that a child was injured by a “rocket-propelled grenade” while a tweet from @k_alsameh identified a guided missile as injuring the child. According to this same source, the missile struck while the child was traveling in a car on the Azaz-Afrin road north of Aleppo and an image they posted shows the damage to the car.

Various other sources also included the same information that a child was injured in a guided missile attack and that the “SDF” was responsible.

No other information is available at this time.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USYEMTr234-C

Incident date

March 16, 2021

Location

حي جو النسيم, Jao Al-Naseem, Marib, Yemen

Airwars assessment

Local sources in Marib reported casualties among civilians as a result of a reported attack either by a US-drone on a car entering a popular market in Marib – or by a Houthi balluistic missile strike on the market – on March 16th, 2021.

While @aalnaasi said the attack happened on Dahbeel station in Al-Naseem, @assssa1234a said that the attack led to the killing of two people who were in the car, and the injuring of citizens who were in the vicinity.

The Yemeni news agency Saba claimed that a US drone had targeted an unknown car as it entered a crowd of citizens’ vehicles in the Jao Al-Naseem neighbourhood, east of the city of Ma’rib. A local source told Saba that ” an American drone targeted an unidentified car with a laser-guided missile while entering the middle of a car gathering in the Jao Al-Naseem neighborhood, resulting in deaths on board the car and wounding a number of citizens near it.”

Saba also claimed that “It is noteworthy that American drones have intensified their raids on the governorates of Marib and Shabwa over the past few days.” However no further proofs were offered to support that claim.

While most sources blamed a US drone for the attack, al Jazeera reported ” 2 dead and 7 wounded due to the fall of a ballistic missile fired by the Houthis on a popular market in Marib city”.

The identity of those killed is not clear yet and no further information is presently available. A a possible moratorium on US strikes in Yemen by the Biden Administration may also have been in operation since January 20th 2021.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, houthi_forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

houthi_forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    houthi_forces
  • houthi_forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    United States Armed Forces, houthi_forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown
  • Belligerents reported killed
    2

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

R4297

Incident date

February 24, 2021

Location

عين الحمرا, Ain Al Hamra, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.766540, 36.429556 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Local sources said that that six civilians from one family in Ain Al Hamra were injured when a cluster bomb from previous Russian or Syrian regime bombing that was in their house yard exploded on February 24th, 2021. The injuries varied in terms of severity.

Two children and two women are among those injured. The Syrian Civil Defence showed images of their volunteers moving civilians to hospital for treatment and following up on their conditions by a home visit.

No further information is available at the moment.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • Syrian Civil Defence treating civilians injured as a result of an explosion of a cluster bomb remnant of war in Ain Hamra in Idlib on Feb 24th, 2021. (via SCD)
  • Syrian Civil Defence volunteers moving civilians injured by a cluster bomb explosion to hospital. The explosion occurred in Ain Hamra in Idlib on Feb 24, 2021. (via Baladi)
  • Syrian Civil Defence volunteers moving civilians injured by a cluster bomb explosion to hospital. The explosion occurred in Ain Hamra in Idlib on Feb 24, 2021. (via Baladi)
  • Caption translation: Civil Defense: Six civilians from one family (including two children and two women) were injured in varying degrees, following the explosion of a cluster bomb remnants of the bombing of the regime and Russia, which was in the garden of their home in the village of Ain al-Hamra in the southwestern countryside of Idlib.
  • Caption translation: After most of the family members were injured several days ago when a cluster bomb remnants of the previous bombing of the regime and Russia exploded in Ain al-Hamra in the southwestern Idlib countryside, volunteers of the Syrian Civil Defense monitor the health status of the injured and provide them with the necessary medical services.
  • Female volunteers with the Syrian Civil Defence check on civilians injured by the explosion of a cluster bomb in Ain Hamra in Idlib on Feb 24th, 2021. (via @SyriaCivilDefe )
  • Female volunteers with the Syrian Civil Defence check on civilians injured by the explosion of a cluster bomb in Ain Hamra in Idlib on Feb 24th, 2021. (via @SyriaCivilDefe )
  • Female volunteers with the Syrian Civil Defence visit victims of a cluster bomb explosion in their home in Ain Hamra in Idlib. (via @SyriaCivilDefe )

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Ain Al Hamra (عين الحمرا), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.766540, 36.429556. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

Russian Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Syrian Regime Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    6
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Armed Forces, Syrian Regime Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Unknown

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

TI056

Incident date

February 10–14, 2021

Location

جبل غارا, Mount Gara, Dohuk, Iraq

Geolocation

37.013345, 43.370045 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Nearby landmark level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Nearby landmark

Airwars assessment

Thirteen Turkish nationals being held captive by the PKK in a location close to village Siyane in the Gare/Gara region in northern Iraq were killed – either during an alleged Turkish airstrike, or executed by the PKK, according to conflicting Kurdish and Turkish sources.

There was however broad agreement that some of those killed were civilians. All of the victims, as detainees, were non combatants. The date of the incident is unclear. Reports of killing the prisoners surfaced on February 14th but the Turkish operation on Gara started on February 10th.

According to Turkish Minute, the bodies of 13 Turkish hostages were found in the Gara region following the launch of Turkish operations there on February 10th. The source said “On Sunday the pro-Kurdish party expressed “deep sadness” over the deaths of the 13 Turks in Iraq, calling on the PKK to free its remaining prisoners.”

Stripes.come said that they Turkish operation was launched to free the Turkish prisoners. “The bodies of the 13 victims were discovered in a cave complex in northern Iraq’s Gara region, near the Turkish border, during an operation against the PKK, launched on Feb. 10, that had aimed to free the hostages.”

Haber Turk reported that the bodies of the thirteen killed Prisoners of War (PoWs) were taken to Malatya for autopsy. Twelve out of 13 were identified as: Expert Sergeant Hüseyin Sarı; the civilian police commander Sedat Yabalak; Gendarmerie Petty Officer Semih Özbek; Police Officer Vedat Kaya; Jandirma Private Süleyman Sungur; Specialist Private Mevlit Kahveci; Gunner Private Müslüm Altıntaş; Private Adil Kabaklı; Aydın Köse; and Umit Gicir, The civilian was Muhammet Salih Kanca, and the contracted soldier Sedat Sorgun.

The source published the following details about nine of the victims:

  • Sedat Yabalak, a civilian police officer and father of three in charge of Şanlıurfa Police Department in Turkey was abducted by the PKK on July 28th 2015 on the Lice-Diyarbakır highway, in front of his wife Burcu Yabalak and their three children, while returning from Erzurum.
  • Private Adil Kabaklı, during his military service, was abducted on the Tunceli Pülümür highway in Turkey while returning to his unit in Ağrı on October 2, 2015.
  • Expert Sergeant Mevlüt Kahveci, aged 31 and referred to as a specialized Gendarmerie Sergeant, was kidnapped by the PKK at a roadblock near Doğanlıköyü in Hakkari’s Çukurca district in Turkey in September 2016.
  • Air Defense Specialist Sergeant Hüseyin Sarı’s, aged 32, was kidnapped by the PKK on the Diyarbakır-Bingöl Highway in Turkey on August13th 2015.
  • Vedat Kaya was a civilian police officer in Istanbul. He and his wife were kidnapped in 2016 by the PKK at a roadblock in the Lice district of Diyarbakır in Turkey while he was returning to his hometown for his brother’s wedding convoy
  • Aydın Köse: No details about the date he was kidnapped by Haber Turk. Mürvet Karakoç mentioned that he is registered of the population of Adıyaman. He was referred to as a civilian by sources including Muhsin.guler.
  • Staff Petty Officer Sergeant Major Semih Özbey was detained by the PKK on the Tunceli-Erzincan highway in Turkey on September 18th 2015.
  • Süleyman Sungur, while doing his military service, was abducted by the PKK from a bus on the Lice road to his hometown Siirt in Turkey in 2015.
  • Private Sedat Sorgun, who was serving as a military officer in Van, was kidnapped by the PKK at a roadblock near Diyarbakır Lice in 2015.

@Kche_shakh tweeted “13 Turkish civilians were killed on the Gara mountains the highest mountains range in southern Kurdistan. Wondering what the Turkish civilians were doing there?”.

The list included the ten names identified by the Turkish Ministry of Defense twitter account as the killed prisoners of war, in addition to three additional names of belligerents likely killed while participating in the Turkish military operation. They are Ertug Guler, Burak Coscun and Harun Turhan. The Turkish minister of defence said that three soldiers were killed during the operation and three others were wounded.

Held captive for many years by the PKK in Kurdistan, their plight was raised by MPs many times back in Turkey, calling for their release. Turkey and the PKK are now accusing each other of responsibility for the killing of the 13 captive Turkish nationals:

Turkey launched its Eagle Claw 2 operation on the Gare region of northern Iraq on February 10th, where the 13 hostages were being held in a cave there.

A statement later issued by the PKK gave the group’s side of the story. They accused Turkey of killing the prisoners during an operation that had begun on February 10th. “A camp where prisoners of war belonging to the Turkish security forces were held has been attacked in Gare. The camp was intensively bombed from the air at five o’clock [not clear if this is am or pm] on February 10th. This was followed by a ground attack in which every form of war technology was used. In order to protect themselves and the prisoners, our forces located in the camp under bombardment gave the necessary response to the occupiers and hit them effectively.”

The PKK statement continued: “After this strike, the occupying Turkish army retreated a bit. Although it knew that there were prisoners there, the camp was again intensively bombed by fighter jets. The bombardment, which lasted for three days, and the fierce battles inside and outside the camp resulted in the death of some of the MIT members, soldiers and policemen we had captured. That no one would survive such a fierce attack was clear to anyone with basic military knowledge. The attack was not aimed at liberating the prisoners of war, but at destroying them.”

Kurdistan Democratic Communities Union said that YPG also published videos showing the Turkish bombardment of the location where the POWs had been held on February 14th.

By contrast, Turkey accused the PKK of executing the prisoners. Stripes.com for example reported Turkish officials as saying that “Twelve of the victims were shot in the head and one died of a shoulder bullet wound.”

Turkey’s Minister of Defense Hulusi Akar made a statement on the Gara operation to the Turkish Grand National Assembly. He said that it wasn’t possible to target the area where the cave is located because of the geographical location and structure. “due to the location and the terrain, the mountain ranges and the difficulty of reaching here, the operation has not been carried out in Gara.”

The minister was also reported by TGRT Haber TV as saying that “in the attack and in response to the shooting and the grenades from inside the cave, we only used teargas bombs. ”

The deaths of 13 unarmed Turkish nationals caused uproar in Turkey. President Erdogan reportedly vowed to expand cross-border operations against the Kurdish group in northern Iraq. Erdogan was quoted as saying “that the killings have strengthened Turkey’s will to form a secure zone along its border in northern Iraq to protect Turkey’s frontiers from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party, or PKK.”

The US State Department released a statement on February 14th condemning the deaths: “The United States deplores the death of Turkish citizens in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. We stand with our NATO Ally Turkey and extend our condolences to the families of those lost in the recent fighting. If reports of the death of Turkish civilians at the hands of the PKK, a designated terrorist organization, are confirmed, we condemn this action in the strongest possible terms.”

Anadolu Agency on Twitter said that “In call with Turkish FM, [US Secretary of State] Blinken affirmed US ‘view that PKK terrorists bear responsibility’ for Turkish civilians martyred in N.Iraq.” The Afghan government also condemned the incident, and blamed the PKK for the killing of the prisoners. And the Turkish Ministry of Defence tweeted that the UK’s Secretary of Defense Ben Wallace had “extended his condolences for the Turkish personnel and citizens that were martyred in Gara by the PKK terrorist organization.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Muhammet Salih Kanca 38 years old male killed
  • Hüseyin Sarı 32 years old male Expert Sergeant killed
  • Sedat Yabalak Age unknown male Police Officer killed
  • Semih Özbek Age unknown male Gendarmerie Petty Officer killed
  • Vedat Kaya 28 years old male Police Officer killed
  • Süleyman Sungur 27 years old male Jandirma Private killed
  • Mevlit Kahveci 31 years old male Specialist Private killed
  • Müslüm Altıntaş Age unknown male Gunner Private killed
  • Adil Kabaklı Age unknown male killed
  • Aydın Köse Age unknown male killed
  • Sedat Sorgun 35 years old male Contracted soldier killed
  • Umit Gicir 35 years old male specialized gendarmerie sergeant killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7 – 13
  • (7–13 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    Turkish Armed Forces, YPG forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3

Sources (34) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (26) [ collapse]

  • Statement by the command of the Central People's Defence Forces Headquarters (via @ameddicleT).
  • Statement by the command of the Central People's Defence Forces Headquarters (via @ameddicleT).
  • A list of names of Turkish nationals killed in Gare region. In addition to names of ten prisoners of war, the list includes names of three Turkish soldiers killed during the operation. Via @Kche_shakh
  • Police officer Sedat Yabalak was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Adil Kabaklı was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Specialist sergeant Mevlüt Kahveci was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10/14th (via Haber turk)
  • Uzman Çavuş Hüseyin Sarı'nın was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Vedat Kaya was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Aydın Köse was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Gendarmerie Staff Petty Officer Sergeant Major Semih Özbey was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Süleyman Sungur was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Sedat Sorgun was among 13 prisoners of war reported killed by Turkey bombing or PKK execution in a cave in Gara mountain, IRQ on February 10-14th. (via Haber turk)
  • Via the Turkish Ministry of National Defence.
  • Images of three of the killed PoW tweeted by the Turkish MoD.
  • Via the Turkish Ministry of National defence
  • Images of two of the PoW killed in Gara in Iraq, posted by the Turkish MoD.
  • Via the Turkish Ministry of National Defence.
  • Images of five if the PoW killed, tweeted by the Turkish MoD.
  • Aydın KÖSE. one of 13 Turkish prisoners of war reported killed as a result of a Turkey operation in Gara mountains, or were executed by PKK. (image via Aziz kose, Aydin's brother).
  • Nine of the 13 killed Turkish prisoners of war who were held captive by the PKK in Gara mountain in Iraq. (via Mürvet Karakoç).
  • According to Sabah News, National Defense Minister Hulusi Akar released this image claiming it is of the PKK member who executed the Turkish prisoners. His name is Kamuran Ataman, the cave manager, nicknamed "Sorej".
  • Images of 12 Turksih prisoners of war killed allegedly as a result of Turkish airstrikes on a cave where they were kept in Gara, Iraq, or executed by PKK. Image via Muhsin.guler.
  • Two of the three Turkish soldiers killed in the operation in Gara between Feb 10th and 14th. (via the Turkish ministry of defence).
  • One of the three Turkish soldiers killed in the operation in Gara between Feb 10th and 14th. (via the Turkish ministry of defence).

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a cave allegedly located within Mount Gara (جبل غارا) of the Amadiya (العمادية) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for the summit of Mount Gara are: 37.013345, 43.370045.

Turkish Armed Forces Assessment:

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

YPG forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7 – 13
  • (7–13 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    Turkish Armed Forces, YPG forces
  • Suspected target
    Other
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3

Sources (34) [ collapse]