Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

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]

Incident Code

CS1953

Incident date

November 7, 2020

Location

غريبة الشرقية, Ghariba al-Sharqiya, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.622001, 40.770607 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

One person was reported killed in an alleged US-led Coalition and QSD/SDF joint security operation/landing in Ghariba al-Sharqiya in Deir Ezzor, Syria on November 7th, 2020.

Some of the local sources which reported the incident said the person killed was an internally displaced person (IDP), and others described him as an ISIS member.

For example, a source told Euphrates Post that “a person was found killed by several bullets near the Khabur River after the SDF withdrew from the village after conducting of the operation. The sources said the person is called Abu Fatima, a displaced from the city of Albu Kamal, east of Deir Ezzor, who has been living with his family in the aforementioned town for four years.”

Euphrates Post later followed up, saying that the man, Mohia Abdullah Al-Dibs, aka Abu Fatima, “is one of ISIS security people and an assistant of Saddam Al-Jamal in what was called the Islamic State.”

The Khabour Facebook page instead identified the slain man as an IDP.

In a civilian casualty assessment released April 2021, the US-led Coalition declared this event to be ‘non credible’, noting: “Nov. 7, 2020, in Ghariba al-Sharqiya, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available records it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.”

However this did not explain several local reports that SDF forces (and possibly Coalition special forces) had been dropped into the village by Coalition helicopters.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Unknown, Unknown
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One person was killed in a joint SDF/US led coalition security operation in Ghariba al-Sharqiya in Deir Ezzor on November 7th, 2020. (via EuphratesPost0.

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the banks of the River Khabour (نهر الخابور), located west of the village of Ghariba Al Sharqiya ( غريبة الشرقية). Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Ghariba Al Sharqiya are: 35.622001, 40.770607.

  • Reports of the incident mention the banks of the River Khabour (نهر الخابور), here marked in red, located west of the village of Ghariba Al Sharqiya ( غريبة الشرقية).

    Imagery:
    Google Image

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    in Ghariba al-Sharqiya, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFU603434
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

Unknown
  • Apr 16, 2021
  • Nov. 7, 2020, in Ghariba al-Sharqiya, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available records it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties. 3291/CS1953 37SFU603434

Unknown Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Unknown, Unknown
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM322

Incident date

November 6, 2020

Location

غندرشي, Gandarshe, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.8349369, 44.9668452 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

A CIA paramilitary officer was killed in Somalia as a result of a joint ground raid with Somali special forces, it was later reported. Four elite Somali Danab troops also died during the event.

Sources close to Al Shabaab first reported on the incident. Somali Memo said: “Reports from Gandarshe area say that a suicide attack was carried out by allied forces in the area.

An improvised explosive device (IED) vehicle driven by a suicide bomber struck an American and Alpha Group militia.

An official statement from the Al-Shabaab Mujahideen Command said that the attack killed five soldiers, including an American soldier and 4 members of the Alpha Group militia, the statement said.

Reports say an explosion injured three Somali soldiers and an American soldier who were taken to Halane Camp.

The allied forces returned from Gandarshe with bodies and wounded, and military equipment was found at the scene of the attack, the sources added.

Residents said they heard the sound of US warplanes patrolling the area at midnight and the sound of a large explosion targeting them.”

The New York Times later wrote: “The officer was a member of the C.I.A.’s paramilitary division, the Special Activities Center, and a former member of the Navy’s elite SEAL Team 6. The identity of the officer remained classified, and the circumstances of the killing were ambiguous. It was unclear whether the officer was killed in a counterterrorism raid or was the victim of an enemy attack, former American officials said. The C.I.A. declined to comment.”

The Intercept gave details of the CIA officer’s apparent identity: “Michael Goodboe, a 54-year-old former Navy SEAL who worked for the CIA’s paramilitary unit, died after succumbing to injuries from an improvised explosive device, according to the two sources. The two sources requested anonymity because of the sensitivity around the attack and because they were not authorized to disclose Goodboe’s death… One of the people familiar with the attack said Goodboe was flown to Germany, where the U.S. has a military hospital, and later died of his injuries.”

Somali Memo said on November 26th that: “Although the exact location of the killing has not yet been announced, it is believed that he was killed in the Lower Shabelle region as part of a night raid by US forces and the Bangaraaf militia in areas controlled by Islamic law.”

On December 4th, The Guardian revealed both the date and location of the failed raid, citing local intelligence officials: “The [CIA] officer was deployed alongside Somali and US special forces during the operation at Gendershe, a coastal village about 30 miles south-west of Mogadishu, and died when fighters from the al-Shabaab extremist movement detonated a car bomb minutes after the raid began on 6 November, the official said. A Somali intelligence officer who works with the US-trained Somali ‘Danab’ special forces unit in Lower Shabelle said: ‘Our officers were supported by the US officers. We flew at 2am that night. The soldiers disembarked from the chopper and went on foot in the bush before a huge explosion went off and killed the American friend and four of our [Somali] officers.'”

The UK-based newspaper added that “Somali officials said the operation was launched following information that three senior al-Shabaab commanders would be in Gendershe that night. Among them was Abdullahi Osman Mohamed, an expert bomb-maker believed to be responsible for many of the powerful devices that have killed hundreds of civilians in Somalia in recent years…. But the Gendershe raid was a failure. After a 40-minute firefight, the US and Somali forces withdrew. ‘The operation was not successful. We did not get them,’ a second Somali officer said.”

The Guardian also cited al Shabaab commanders: “Al-Shabaab sources confirmed the clash, and claimed they had ambushed the US and Somali forces after learning of the operation in advance. ‘American soldiers accompanied by Somali forces raided an al-Shabaab base in Gendershe. We had received intelligence that they were coming. We were ready and a fierce gun battle broke out. A number of officers were killed including the CIA officer,’ Abu Mohamed, an al-Shabaab commander in Lower Shabelle, told the Guardian.”

The incident occured at approximately 4:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (18) [ collapse]

  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Gear and body parts of soldiers killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Supposed body parts of soldier killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)
  • Gear of CIA officer killed by Al Shabaab on November 6th, 2020 (via Somali Memo)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention that the strike took place in the vicinity of the village Gandarshe (غندرشي), for which the coordinates are: 1.8349369, 44.9668452. Due to limited information and satellite imagery available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1951

Incident date

October 16, 2020

Location

المجيد أو المجبل, Al Majid or Al Majbal, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.504595, 40.656100 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

A possible civilian male was killed in an alleged US-led Coalition airdrop operation in the village of Al Majbal or Al Majid, Deir Ezzor governorate, on October 16th, 2020. While some local sources reported that the man was a civilian, others wrote the man was suspected of being affiliated with ISIS or a previous member of pro-Turkish factions. Two other civilians, including a woman, were reportedly injured.

Al Khabour reported that the Coalition operation targeted the house of Al Hawash Al Trifin in Al Majbal village, around 2 AM on October 16th. An hour later, Al Hawash, reportedly a civilian, was arrested.

According to Al Khabour, the civilian Asad Suleiman Al Sawadi was killed “with a direct bullet wounding him in the neck, killing him immediately, as he stood in front of his window.” The operation reportedly lasted until 5 AM.

According to a DeirEzzor24 correspondent, “the operation resulted in one death, two injuries, including a woman, and one arrest, in addition to the bombing of an abandoned house in the village”.

The DeirEzzor24 report also stated that four Coalition helicopters carried out the operation with a joint Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) ground force. The Coalition “called on the people through loudspeakers to stay at their homes and not to leave them, and to separate women and children from youths and men”.

JisrTV wrote that the operation targeted people suspected to be affiliated with ISIS, “while one of the wanted persons was killed while trying to arrest him”, adding that “SDF forces carried out raids in a number of houses, combing them, and blew up a house”.

The official spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve (@OIRSpox) tweeted on October 16th: “This week Iraqi and Syrian partners did 32 #defeatDash operations, saving local communities from 41 #Daesh terrorists”.

Zengin wrote that the operation “led to the death of a person and the injury of his wife, who was a former member of the ranks of the pro-Turkish factions.”

In its January 2021 monthly civilian casualty report, the US-led Coalition determined this event to be ‘non credible’, asserting: “After a review of all available records it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.”

The incident occured between 2:00 am and 5:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Assad Yassin Al Sawadi was killed in an alleged joint US-led Coalition and SDF airdrop operation in Al Majid or Al Majbal on October 16th, 2020 (via Euphrates Eye).

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention a residential building being struck within the village of Al Majbal (المجبل) or Al Maijd (المجيد), allegedly within the Suwar (صور‎) subdistrict. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Suwar are: 35.504595, 40.656100.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    in al Majid, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFV501302
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jan 6, 2021
  • Oct. 16, 2020, in Al Majid, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available records it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties. 3289/CS1951 37SFV501302

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM319-C

Incident date

September 20, 2020

Location

Moyiloow, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

2.18433, 44.65022 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Eight civilians were allegedly killed in a joint US/Somali military operation near Tortorrow.

Halgan Media said: “US trained Somali Paramilitary Forces (Danab) executed 8 civilians inside a Mosque during an overnight raid targeting the village of Moyiloow in the Lower Shabelle province of Somalia. All the victims where executed at close range. Two of them where brothers.”

The Horn of Africa Centre for Regional Studies reported a Danab special forces operation in the area with aerial support from the US. It said eight suspected Al Shabaab members had been killed.

In its fourth quarter civilian casualty assessment AFRICOM wrote: “On Sept. 21, 2020 USAFRICOM received one (1) report from an online media source claiming eight (8) civilians were killed as a result of a joint Somali/U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia on Sept. 21, 2020. USAFRICOM’s assessment is ongoing.”

Airwars has so far not been able to find a clear allegation of civilian harm against US forces.

In the following report AFRICOM said the allegation was unsubstantiated: “After review, the report was assessed as unsubstantiated. U.S. forces were not directly involved in this operation and no U.S. military strike took place at the time and place reported. Partner force reporting and sensitive intelligence confirmed that no civilians were killed in the operation. The source of the report is a known al-Shabaab propaganda outlet that falsely stated that the partner force destroyed a mosque during the operation. U.S. Africa Command performed a careful assessment of the area after the operation and confirmed that a mosque was not destroyed in the operation.”

The incident occured during the night.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Moyiloow, alternatively spelled Moyanow, for which the generic coordinates are: 2.18433, 44.65022. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Mar 5, 2021
  • Nov 6, 2020
  • On Sept. 21, 2020 USAFRICOM received one (1) report from an online media source claiming eight (8) civilians were killed as a result of a joint Somali/U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia on Sept. 21, 2020. USAFRICOM’s assessment is ongoing.

  • (Unsubstantiated) On Sept. 21, 2020, U.S. Africa Command received one (1) report from an online media source stating eight (8) civilians were killed as a result of a joint Somali and U.S. military operation in the vicinity of Tortorrow, Somalia on Sept. 21, 2020. After review, the report was assessed as unsubstantiated. U.S. forces were not directly involved in this operation and no U.S. military strike took place at the time and place reported. Partner force reporting and sensitive intelligence confirmed that no civilians were killed in the operation. The source of the report is a known al-Shabaab propaganda outlet that falsely stated that the partner force destroyed a mosque during the operation. U.S. Africa Command performed a careful assessment of the area after the operation and confirmed that a mosque was not destroyed in the operation.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Single source claim
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    8

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM317

Incident date

September 7, 2020

Location

IVO Janay Abdalle, Lower Juba, Somalia

Geolocation

0.02819, 42.287022 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Several militants were allegedly killed or injured by an Al Shabaab VBIED and subsequent exchange of gunfire near Janay Cabdalle.

The New York Times reported: “Three Somali military officers were killed and two others injured along with an American service member in a bombing in southern Somalia on Monday, the authorities said, the latest example of a deadly insurgency that has continued to wreak havoc in the Horn of Africa nation.

Officials in Jubaland State said an explosives-laden pickup truck exploded around 8 a.m. at a military outpost in the Jana Abdalle area in the Lower Juba region of southern Somalia. The attack came just days after Somali forces, with the support of American military personnel, reclaimed the area from the Somali terrorist group Al Shabab.”

Somali Memo, close to Al Shabaab, said: “Al-Shabaab said in a statement that the car bomb attack killed at least 16 US-trained militants and wounded 12 others.”

Caleb Weiss quotes another Al Shabaab statement saying “the suicide bombing killed and wounded 7 US soldiers and killed 16 Somali special forces.”

The AFRICOM statement said: “One U.S. service member was injured in an attack by al-Shabaab this morning in the vicinity of Jana Cabdalle, Somalia. U.S. and Somali forces were conducting an advise, assist and accompany mission when al-Shabaab attacked using a vehicle employed as an improvised explosive device and mortar fire. The U.S. service member is in stable condition and receiving treatment for injuries that are not assessed to be life-threatening. It is also assessed at least one al-Shabaab fighter was killed during the attack.”

The incident occured at approximately 8:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attackers
    United States Armed Forces, somalia_military_forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3–12

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Jana Abdalle, for which the generic coordinates are: 0.02819, 42.287022. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

The following statement is attributed to Col. Chris Karns, U.S. Africa Command’s director of public affairs:

One U.S. service member was injured in an attack by al-Shabaab this morning in the vicinity of Jana Cabdalle, Somalia. U.S. and Somali forces were conducting an advise, assist and accompany mission when al-Shabaab attacked using a vehicle employed as an improvised explosive device and mortar fire. The U.S. service member is in stable condition and receiving treatment for injuries that are not assessed to be life-threatening. It is also assessed at least one al-Shabaab fighter was killed during the attack.

The U.S. regularly conducts advise and assist missions with Somali partner forces. The collective efforts of the U.S. and Somalia place pressure on al-Shabaab, limiting their ability to extend their reach and movement. al-Shabaab remains a dangerous enemy. Continued pressure is being placed on this Al Qaeda-affiliated threat to limit its ability to expand and export violence, terrorism, and crime more broadly.

somalia_military_forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    somalia_military_forces
  • somalia_military_forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attackers
    United States Armed Forces, somalia_military_forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    3–12

Sources (13) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM315a

Incident date

August 24, 2020

Location

دار السلام, Darusalaam, Lower Shabelle, Somalia

Geolocation

1.92135, 44.78777 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Subdistrict level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Subdistrict

Airwars assessment

Six Al Shabaab members were allegedly killed and three more injured by a US strike in combination with a US/Somali ground operation near Darusalaam. Local sources claimed US soldiers had been injured which AFRICOM denied.

A report from Halgan Media said: “US trained Somali paramilitary forces, commonly referred to as “Danab” carried out counter terrorism operations under the cover of US air power in the volatile Lower Shabelle province of Somalia.

The Somali paramilitary militia (Danab) carried out groups ops targeting outlining villages near the Al Shabaab controlled district of Awdheegle, which has been a Militant stronghold for a number of years.

During the ground ops, scores of militants where reportedly killed, while a large catche of weapons and logistical equipment was seized according to Paramilitary commander Ismacil Cabdimalik Macaalin, who spoke to the local press.

[…]

On a similar note, Ismacil revealed they received aerial support from there American counterparts, which led to the US carrying out a series of strikes targeting the village of Daarusalam. At least 10 suspected Al Shabaab militants where alleged to have been killed in this particular drone raid, Ismacil reveled.”

It later tweeted: “Three #US soldiers where wounded when there Military convoy struck a Roadside Bomb in the village of #Daarusalam in the Lower Shabelle province of #Somalia. The wounded Americans where rushed to the nearby #US drone base (Balidogle) for medical treatment.”

Somali Memo, like Halgan Media close to Al Shabaab, said seven Somali soldiers had been killed and one American wounded.

The AFRICOM press release responded to the claims: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one (1) airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces from a building in the vicinity of Dar as Salam, Somalia, Aug. 24.

When this airstrike occurred, U.S. forces were in the vicinity in order to advise and assist Somali partner forces. Al-Shabaab falsely claimed U.S. casualties. No U.S. forces were injured or killed during the attack.

Initial assessments indicate that the airstrike killed six (6) terrorists and wounded three (3) terrorists.

We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrikes.”

Garowe reported: “Gen. Ismail Abdimalik, the Danab’s 60th unit commander, told SNA Radio that the army waged an operation at Daru-Salam area in Lower Shebelle killing several militants among them a “top Al-Shabaab operative” who is believed to be a trainer and an explosives expert.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    13–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    4–6

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Darusalaam (دار السلام), for which the generic coordinates are: 1.92135, 44.78777. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted one (1) airstrike targeting al-Shabaab terrorists after they attacked partner forces from a building in the vicinity of Dar as Salam, Somalia, Aug. 24.

"Al-Shabaab is a dangerous enemy," said U.S. Marine Corps Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, deputy director for operations, U.S. Africa Command. "It is a danger to Africa and the United States. “We will continue to place pressure on the network and impact their ability to plan and execute these acts."

Al-Shabaab leadership has expressed its primary desire is to conduct attacks not just in East Africa, but against Americans and U.S. interests across the globe. International efforts and the persistent pressure placed on al-Shabaab helps contain the group's broader ambitions and desire to conduct attacks beyond Somali borders.

When this airstrike occurred, U.S. forces were in the vicinity in order to advise and assist Somali partner forces. Al-Shabaab falsely claimed U.S. casualties. No U.S. forces were injured or killed during the attack.

"Al-Shabaab routinely resorts to the tradecraft of terror, crime, and propaganda to intimidate and seek control of the local populace," said Col. Chris Karns, director of public affairs, U.S. Africa Command. "Persistent pressure against the al-Shabaab damages their narrative, network, and plans for broader destruction and violence."

Initial assessments indicate that the airstrike killed six (6) terrorists and wounded three (3) terrorists.

We currently assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of this airstrikes.

As part of an international effort, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. interagency partners continue to help support Somali-led efforts to counter and contain dangerous terrorist organizations from exporting violence more broadly.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    Al-Shabaab
  • Belligerents reported killed
    13–17
  • Belligerents reported injured
    4–6

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

USSOM311

Incident date

July 21, 2020

Location

Timirshe, Bari, Somalia

Geolocation

10.56245, 50.42396 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Seven ISIS fighters were killed by a US airsrtrike near Timirshe, according to AFRICOM.

The press release said: “In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against ISIS-Somalia terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Timirshe, Somalia, July 21. Timirshe is located 140 kilometers southeast of Bosasso.

At this time, it is assessed this airstrike killed seven (7) ISIS-Somalia terrorists.

Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.”

Radio Dalsan said eight ISIS members were killed and two vehicles destroyed.

The strike was conducted in support of the Puntland Security Forces, according to Real Clear Defense: “Local reporting has said that the PSF engaged in a multi-hour gunfight with the ISS militants, which led to the supporting U.S. airstrike.”

After an exchange on Twitter with Rita Katz, AFRICOM conceded that one partner force sustained in injury in the incident, after initially claiming it had not.

Halgan Media later published details about one of the ISIS members killed in the operation: “The Somali-ISIS faction has released a statement of admission revealing one of there senior figures Khalid Jama Mohamed, better known as Abu Osama Al-Muhajir was killed in a US drone strike in the Bari province of Northeast Somalia.

The statement by Somalia’s Islamic State faction stated that the now, deceased Abu Osama Al-Muhajir was key figure in the Somali-ISIS faction, prior to his death.

Abu Osama Al-Muhajir was said to be of Pakistani orgin and was a former member of Al Shabaab’s media branch prior to defecting to the Somali-ISIS faction.”

Garowe said that the incident took place in the Golis Mountains and provided further information: “In addition, the Puntland forces confirmed that over 20 militants were killed following an airstrike and subsequent ground combat.”

The outlet added: “During the operation, Puntland said, two trucks and several explosives were seized by ground forces, with several other militants also surrendering to the security teams.”

It is unclear whether US special forces supported the operation on the ground and to what extent the Puntland Security Forces are supported by the US.

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7–8
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Screenshot of ISIS media outlet mourning the death of Abu Osama Al-Muhajir, allegedly killed by a US airstrike near Timirshe on July 22nd, 2020 (via Puntland Mirror)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the vicinity of Timirshe. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Timirshe are: 10.56245, 50.42396.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

In coordination with the Federal Government of Somalia, U.S. Africa Command conducted an airstrike against ISIS-Somalia terrorists after they attacked partner forces in a remote location near Timirshe, Somalia, July 21. Timirshe is located 140 kilometers southeast of Bosasso.

"We continue to apply pressure on terrorist groups and assist our Somali partners in disrupting their operations," said U.S. Army Brig. Gen. Miguel Castellanos, deputy director of operations, AFRICOM. "We continue our support to rid Somalia of the likes of ISIS and al-Shabaab."

At this time, it is assessed this airstrike killed seven (7) ISIS-Somalia terrorists.

Currently, we assess no civilians were injured or killed as a result of these airstrikes.

When this airstrike occurred, U.S. forces were in the area in order to advise and assist Somali and partner forces. Terrorist groups continue to resort to the tradecraft of terror and propaganda in an effort to intimidate the local populace.

"Mistruths and lies are the terrorist weapons of choice," said Col. Chris Karns, director of public affairs, AFRICOM. "ISIS-Somalia and al-Shabaab have bankrupt narratives and visions of the future. Our partnership to unmask and degrade the capability of these terrorists is essential to security and stability in Somalia."

U.S. Africa Command continues to support the Government of Somalia by strengthening its security forces and promoting regional security, stability, and prosperity. Concurrently, the command is building enduring relationships and strategic alliances in East Africa to address looming challenges and malign activity by near-peer competitors.

The U.S continues to provide support to Somali efforts and counter violent extremist threats. The challenges in Africa will require African and international solutions. U.S. Africa Command remains committed to working with our African partners.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Somalia
  • Belligerents reported killed
    7–8
  • Belligerents reported injured
    1

Sources (14) [ collapse]