Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS1921

Incident date

June 30, 2019

Location

ريف المهندسين الأول, Rif Al Mouhandessen Al Awal, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.094532, 36.961419 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A confirmed Coalition strike with high-explosive missiles against Al Qaeda at Rif Al Mouhandessen near Aleppo on the afternoon of June 30th is also locally reported to have injured at least two children and two women, and killed a number of foreign AQ-linked fighters. Syrian Observatory for Human Rights claimed that the strike was carried out at 4.20 pm, exactly.

According to Step news, a total of seven injured people were evacuated including the two children and two women, in addition to the bodies of three men. Step News added in a later post that the number of casualties had risen to eleven people but did specify the number of dead or wounded or their combatant status.

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights initially reported that eight commanders and fighters were killed but in a later post added that the number had risen to nine. According the source, the victims included two Algerians, two Tunisians, one Egyptian and a Syrian commander in addition to 14 wounded who attended a meeting when the building they were in was struck with rocket shelling. The source added that it wasn’t clear whether the shelling was carried out by the International Coalition or by Russian missiles.

Alarabiya reported: “The US-led coalition said Monday its jets carried out strikes in northwest Syria a day earlier that a monitor reported had killed eight extremists, including commanders, from an al-Qaeda-linked group.

‘This operation targeted AQ-S operatives responsible for plotting external attacks threatening US citizens, our partners, and innocent civilians,’ US Central Command said in a statement, using an acronym for Al-Qaeda in Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based war monitor, earlier said six commanders were among the slain extremists from the Hurras al-Deen group.”

Among those killed militants were Abu Omar, Tunisian, and Abu Dujana, Algerian, leaders of the organization according to Mena Monitor. @jalaysalshuhada reported that Abu Omar was a Tunisian member of the Shura Council and a judge in the internal judiciary of the organization.

Mena Monitor added that among the wounded militants were Abu Yahya al-Masri and Abu Dhar al-Masri.

On March 10, 2022 in the CJTF-OIR Civilian Casualty Report, the Coalition reported this incident to be “non-credible”, stating that “After review of all available evidence it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.”

The incident occured in the afternoon.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 11
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–7
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Russian Military
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–9
  • Belligerents reported injured
    8–14

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (8) [ collapse]

  • A building was struck by a confirmed Coalition strike against Al Qaeda at Rif Al Mouhandessen near Aleppo on June 30th (via Step News).
  • A building was struck by a confirmed Coalition strike against Al Qaeda at Rif Al Mouhandessen near Aleppo on June 30th (via Step News).
  • A building was struck by a confirmed Coalition strike against Al Qaeda at Rif Al Mouhandessen near Aleppo on June 30th (via Step News).
  • A building was struck by a confirmed Coalition strike against Al Qaeda at Rif Al Mouhandessen near Aleppo on June 30th (via Step News).
  • A building was struck by a confirmed Coalition strike against Al Qaeda at Rif Al Mouhandessen near Aleppo on June 30th (via Syria live ua).
  • A building was struck by a confirmed Coalition strike against Al Qaeda at Rif Al Mouhandessen near Aleppo on June 30th (via Syria live ua).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Abu Omar, Tunisian member of the Shura Council and a judge in the internal judiciary of extremist organization "Horras Al Din", was alleged killed in a Coalition strike in Aleppo on June 30th (via @jalaysalshuhada).
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Video showing bodies of stuck under the rubble caused by a Coalition strike in Aleppo on June 30th (via @jalaysalshuhada).

Geolocation notes

Coordinates released by the Coalition place the event at 36.09453, 36.96142

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Open incident
  • Stated location
    near Aleppo, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    1 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SCV1647596357
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Mar 10, 2022
  • Jun. 30, 2019, near Aleppo, Syria, via Airwars report. After review of all available evidence it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike. 3218/CS1921 37SCV1647596357

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 11
  • Civilians reported injured
    4–7
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Russian Military
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3–9
  • Belligerents reported injured
    8–14

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS3702

Incident date

May 19–20, 2019

Location

كفرنبل , Kafar Nubul, Idlib , Syria

Airwars assessment

According to numerous sources, a series of consecutive overnight strikes devastated a neighbourhood of Kafar Nubul from May 19th to 20th, killing 10 to 15 civilians, while injuring two to 20. While the majority of sources held Russia accountable for the bombardment, a minority did not positively attribute blame.

Women and children were named by many sources as the highest proportion of those killed and injured, with multiple sources reporting the death of seven children.

Young brothers Suleiman and Ibrahim al Ismail were reportedly killed alongside their pregnant mother, according to numerous sources. The sources named ten victims only.

While Edlib Media Center initially alleged four fatalities, the same source later stated that the figure had risen to 10, as understanding of the event unfolded. Multiple other sources claimed that there were at least 10 fatalities as a result of the bombardment. SyriaCivilDefense posted “The number of victims of the massacre of  Kafar Nubul rose to nine martyrs to the moment, after 10 air raids with high-explosive missiles on the residential neighborhoods of the city.”

Substantial damage to civilian infrastructure is documented by many sources, with Step News claiming that the strikes deliberately “targeted infrastructure and hospitals”, and Jisr TV stating that 15 homes were destroyed. Many sources reported that Mariam Maternity Hospital in southern Idlib was out of service as a result of the raid, while Step News alleged the “destruction of the hospital”. Documenting the rescue mission, Syria Civil Defense poignantly reported “the destruction of a number of homes above the heads of the residents.”

In spite of the Russian-Turkish agreement, stipulating the cessation of shelling in the region, Step News reported that “Idlib and the northern city of Hama are under frequent air, artillery and missile attacks by the Regime and Russia, resulting in civilian deaths and injuries, and tens of thousands of displaced persons.”

One resident of the neighbourhood, speaking in a video released by Edlib Media Centre, stated; “my uncle was killed, and my cousin was injured. There are another seven to eight killed, and around 10 injured. There are no military bases here. There’s nothing … it’s all civilian.”

According to Syrianmosaic, the Russian ministry of defense stated that they attacked with raids terrorists in Kafr Nubul in the evening of the day when the incident took place.

The ministry said: “Al-Nusra Front terrorists tried to launch an attack on the Russian Hmeimim base by rocket launchers, and at eight o’clock yesterday evening, Idlib terrorists fired six shells.” “Russian reconnaissance means were able to locate this missile launcher on the western outskirts of the village of Kafr Nabl in Idlib Governorate, and the Russian Air Force destroyed this terrorist point with a specific strike.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

  • Ibrahim al Ismail Child male killed
  • Suleiman al Ismail Child male killed
  • Hiba Shahine Adult female pregnant Wife of Husam Al Ismaeil and The mother of those children killed

Family members (4)

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 15
  • (3–7 children2–4 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–20
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Military
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (59) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (48) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Rescue efforts in the aftermath of the May 19th/20th airstrike on Kafar Nabil (via Syria Civil Defense)
  • Rescue efforts in the aftermath of the May 19th/20th airstrike on Kafar Nabil (via Syria Civil Defense)
  • Rescue efforts in the aftermath of the May 19th/20th airstrike on Kafar Nabil (via Syria Civil Defense)
  • The devastation of residential structures following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Edlib Media Center)
  • The devastation of civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Edlib Media Center)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following the alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil (via Edlib Media Center)
  • The devastation of residential structures following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Edlib Media Center)
  • The devastation of residential structures following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • The devastation of residential structures following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • The devastation of residential structures following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • The devastation of civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Rescue efforts in the aftermath of the alleged Russian airstrike on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Structural devastation following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Structural devastation following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Rescue efforts in the aftermath of alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Rescue efforts in the aftermath of alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Rescue efforts in the aftermath of alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Rescue efforts in the aftermath of alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Rescue efforts in the aftermath of alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Rescue efforts in the aftermath of alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Euphrates Post)
  • Translation: "Idlib, Southern countryside: the evacuation of civilian victims from the rubble of houses in the city of Kafr Nabel, south of Idlib, after the Russian shelling of the area on 20/05/2019"
  • A short video documenting the air raids (via Anas Marawi)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shahba Press)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shahba Press)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shahba Press)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shaam News)
  • The devastation of civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shaam News)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shaam News)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shaam News)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shaam News)
  • The devastation of residential structures and civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shaam News)
  • The devastation of civilian infrastructure following alleged Russian airstrikes on Kafar Nabil May 19th/20th (via Shaam News)
  • A video depicting the aftermath of the airstrikes. Translation: "at night after evening prayer, Russian planes started hitting the village including the neighbourhood. They hit with more than ten raids. Among the victims were my uncle and cousin and six others from the neighbourhood and there are around ten injured. “
  • A child sitting amid destruction caused by alleged Russian forces airstrikes on Kafr Nubul on May 19th, 2019. (via MMC)
  • Destruction caused by alleged Russian forces airstrikes on Kafr Nubul on May 19th, 2019. (via MMC)
  • A child sitting amid of destruction caused by alleged Russian forces airstrikes on Kafr Nubul on May 19th, 2019. (via MMC)
  • One of the victims of an airstrike on Kafr Nubul on May 19th, 2019. (via Abu Ibrahim Ta`ata`a)
  • One of the victims of an airstrike on Kafr Nubul on May 19th, 2019. (via Abu Ibrahim Ta`ata`a)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    10 – 15
  • (3–7 children2–4 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–20
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Military
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (59) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS3658

Incident date

May 4, 2019

Location

الجانودية, Al Ganoudia, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

Alleged Russian or regime strikes struck the outskirts of the town of Ganoudia in the western countryside of Idlib. An unknown number of civilians including children were reported wounded on May 4th, 2019.

Pro regime sources said that the attacks targeted Al-Nusra Front in the area, killing and injuring a number of its members.

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
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (33) [ collapse]

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Syrian Regime Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike and/or Artillery
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Russian Military, Syrian Regime
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (33) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS3538

Incident date

September 4, 2018

Location

الجانودية, al Janoudiya, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were reported killed and two others injured in alleged Russian forces or Syrian regime airstrikes on Al-Janoudiya in Idlib, on September 4th, 2018.

@almo3tasem91 tweeted “Two martyrs and a number of wounded civilians in the village of Al-Janoudiya as a result of being targeted by several air strikes by Russian warplanes.”

Local sources also said the attack led to severe damage in civilians’ properties as a result of the airstrikes.

Syria TV said “As for the town of Al-Janoudiya in the northern countryside of Jisr Al-Shughour, two people were injured and civilian property was badly damaged after being targeted by six air strikes by Russian warplanes.”

@SyriaCivilDefe said that the area was hit with six air strikes by Russian aircraft “which resulted in the injury of two people, and damage to public property.”

Russian forces and the Syrian regime were both blamed for the attack. While a pro-regime one said that Syrian Air Force targeted what they described as terrorists spots in Al Janoudiya with two raids, Sputnik  reported from a Russian military source that they conducted airstrikes on areas in Idlib on the same day.

@now_damascus tweeted “The Syrian Air Force has targeted locations of terrorist groups in the town of Al-Janoudiya in the countryside of Jisr Al-Shughour, with two air strikes, in conjunction with missile strikes targeting the same location.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Military
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • The moment raids hit al Janoudiya, 4th Sept 2018. (via Sputnik)

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Contested strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    Russian Military
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Incident Code

RS3537

Incident date

September 4, 2018

Location

فريكة, Freika, idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

Two civilians were reported killed, and another injured in Freeka town in Idlib, as a result of alleged Russian airstrikes on September 4th, 2018, according to local sources.

Syrian TV reported that “a civilian was killed and his son was seriously wounded in Russian air strikes on the village of Freeka in Idlib countryside.” Macro Media Center identified the victim as Ahmad Mohammad al-Jaber, and said that his son Omar was injured in the incident.

However, Enab Baladi said that two civilians were killed in the attack. “According to the reporter of Enab Baladi in the Idlib countryside, the shelling killed three people in the city of Jisr Al-Shughour, and two in the town of Freeika in Idlib countryside.”

Sputnik reported from a Russian military source that “On the same day [September 4], four planes from the Russian air unit deployed at the Hmeymim Airbase carried out strikes on Nusra Front terrorist group targets in Idlib province with precision-guided munitions.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Ahmad Muhammad Al-Jaber male killed
  • Omar Ahmad Al-Jaber male critical injury injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • 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
    Russian Military
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • The bombing of Freika, 4th Sept 2018. (via Sputnik)

Russian Military Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 man)
  • 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
    Russian Military
  • Suspected target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS472

Incident date

February 3, 2017

Location

سرمين, Sarmin, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.904042, 36.726111 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A confirmed US airstrike on a militant group reportedly linked to Al Qaeda also possibly killed or injured a number of civilians.

According to Step News, 12 or more members of new group Hai’at Tahrir al Sham were killed in a raid targeting a meeting on the edges of Sarmin.

As Step News explained, “Hai’at Tahrir al Sham was formed on 28th of the past month under the leadership of Abu Jaber al Sheikh and it includes many factions most notably Fatah al Sham Front and Nour al Din al Zanki movement, and came after the attacks carried out by the front on several factions in rural Idlib and Aleppo, notably Soukour al Sham which has recently come  under the banner of Ahrar al-Sham movement.”

While most reports said only fighters died, both LCCSY and Ara News also reported civilian casualties.

The Pentagon confirmed on February 8th that it had carried out the attack, though made no reference to civilian harm.

In its monthly civilian casualty report for October 2019 – published on December 5th of the same year – the US-led Coalition assessed this event as ‘non credible’, noting: “February 3, 2017, in Sarmin, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition action. 2475/S422 37SBV948575”.

The Coalition published a location for the assessment identifying to within 100 metres the area where it had focused its review.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 10
  • Civilians reported injured
    12
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • A unilateral targeted US strike targeted a meeting of a new militant group near Sarmin - but may also have caused civilian casualties (via Step News)
CJTF–OIR Declassified Assessment and Press Release

Attached to this civilian harm incident is the Pentagon's declassified assessment of this civilian harm allegation, obtained by Azmat Khan and the New York Times through Freedom of Information requests and lawsuits filed since March 2017, alongside the corresponding press release published by the Pentagon. Airwars is currently analysing the contents of each file, and will update our own assessments accordingly.

Declassified Assessment Press Release

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
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    in Sarmin, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SBV948575
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Dec 5, 2019
  • February 3, 2017, in Sarmin, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of all available records it was determined that, more likely than not, civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition action. 2475/S422 37SBV948575

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The Pentagon reports that “On Feb. 3, one U.S. strike killed 10 terrorists in a building being used as an al-Qaida meeting place.”

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 10
  • Civilians reported injured
    12
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS426

Incident date

January 6, 2017

Location

تفتناز, Taftanaz, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.99805, 36.78559 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A reported unilateral US airstrike targeted and possibly killed Sheikh Yones Shoaib, aka Abu Hassan Taftanaz – a key leader of Fatah al-Sham. However his 15-year old son Hasan Younes Shoeaib also reportedly died, along with at least one other relative. The Syrian Observatory later questioned whether Sheikh Yones Shoaib in fact died.

In June 2019 the Coalition accepted responsibility for this allegation of civilian harm, though claimed it to have been an attack on ISIS. Its monthly civilian casualty report noted “Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against Daesh terrorists. Regrettably, two civilians were unintentionally killed due to their proximity to the strike.” In May 2020, the Pentagon declared this as a US action.

According to Enab Baladi at the time of the event, “A drone belonging to the international Coalition led by the United States, carried out a raid on the town of Taftanaz in the countryside of Idlib this afternoon, caused the deaths of Shoaib and his son, a 15-year-old and his relative, former member of the Nusra Front, Mohamed Kamal Shoaib (Abu Omar).”

Shaam News said that Shoaib’s home was targeted by a drone in the attack, and that along with the three deaths several unspecified people were injured. Baladi News said that land next to the house was targeted.

Syria analyst Charles Lister – pointing out the increase in US attacks on al Nusra, noted: “Nusra/JFS’s decision to operate as a mass movement – in the open and embedded as one component of a broader armed revolution has laid it out as intrinsically vulnerable to (a) air attack and (2) external infiltration.”

The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

In May 2020, in its annual report to Congress, the Pentagon declared this to have been a US civilian casualty event.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known targets
    Al Qaeda/HTS, ISIS

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Aftermath of the airstrike (via Jisir TV)
  • Sheikh Yones Shoaib (Abu Hassan Taftanaz), a leading figure in the "front Fateh Sham" (via Enab Baladi)
  • Table from May 2020 Pentagon report to Congress, conceding additional US civilian harm events in Iraq and Syria during 2017.

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition providing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated this event to 35.9976603, 36.7856598. In June 2019 the Coalition provided 37SCV004860 as the MGRS for this event.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    Killed by strike blast
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    near Taftanaz, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SCV004860
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jun 28, 2019
  • Jan. 6, 2017, near Taftanaz, Syria, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against Daesh terrorists. Regrettably, two civilians were unintentionally killed due to their proximity to the strike.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For January 6th-7th the Coalition publicly reported: “Near Idlib, one strike engaged an ISIL tactical unit.” However given that strikes on al Nusra are generally unilateral US actions, this may not refer to this incident.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known targets
    Al Qaeda/HTS, ISIS

Sources (17) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS425

Incident date

January 3, 2017

Location

سرمدا, Sarmada, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

36.18525, 36.72251 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A major US airstrike on an al Nusra Front headquarters – a unilateral action – killed a significant number of militants. However, up to 26 Free Syrian Army prisoners held in the building were also reported killed, along with three children.

The US admitted responsibility for just one civilian death three years later.

Fatah al Sham blamed the international Coalition at the time, with spokesman Abu Anas al-Shami saying in a statement: “The headquarters targeted by the international coalition a short time ago are a main headquarters for that area and contains a number branch offices, leading to the killing of the brothers.”

Given that the target was al Nusra, this was thought most likely to be a unilateral US action. The Coalition’s spokesman Colonel John Dorrian later confirmed that the attack “was a US strike.”

As the Pentagon’s own spokesman Peter Cook also noted: ““Al-Qaida’s foreign terrorist fighter network used this headquarters as a gathering place, and their leaders directed terrorist operations out of this location. As you know, al-Qaida remains committed to carrying out terrorist attacks against the United States, our interests, and our allies and friends. We will continue to take actions to deny any safe haven for al-Qaida in Syria. We will not allow al-Qaida to grow its capacity to attack the United States or our allies around the world, and these strikes demonstrate that commitment.”

AFP cited the Syrian Observatory as saying that “Among the dead were leading members of the group formerly known as al-Nusra Front, who had been holding a meeting.” Almost all sources also reported civilian fatalities.

Idlib Media Centre reported “Civilian martyrs and wounded including prisoners, due to Coalition warplanes shelling a Fatah Al-Sham building in Samara.” Shaam News reported that the strikes “killed around 40 – the majority of whom are prisoners who were detained by Fatah Al-Sham.” Qasioun said the attack occurred at 3.55pm and injured “dozens.”

According to Al Khaleej, “44 were killed including 26 prisoners of the Free Syrian Army, 15 members of Fatah Al-Sham and three children and it’s not known whether the children were prisoners, or children of Fatah Al-Sham members.”

A local activist told Airwars the following: “Al-Nusra Front still denies the existence of civilian [prisoners] in its headquarters. But families were able to recognise a number of the bodies who were previous detainees and missing people, which confirms that the headquarters was transformed into a prison recently.” One of those victims – 10 year old Haytham – was reportedly being held on theft charges when he was killed.

However Al Souria insisted that the facility was not a prison, and that more than 20 members of Al Nusra were instead killed.

Syrian Revolution has named the four prisoners as killed. In addition, a local activist provided Airwars with five additional names of reported civilian fatalities.

On March 4th 2017 the Coalition claimed it did not have enough information to determine whether civilians died in the raid, noting: “Jan. 3, 2017, Sarmada, Syria, via social media report: The report contained insufficient information on the time, location and details of strike to assess its credibility.”

However in January 2020, the Coalition conceded one civilian death in the event, noting: “January 3, 2017, in Sarmada, Syria, via media report. US aircraft conducted an airstrike against an Al Qaida facility. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed as a result of the strike. 306/CS425 37SBA952069”.

In May 2020, the Pentagon also included this event in its annual civilian harm report to Congress.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Wael Yasin Age unknown male From Kafr Dyan killed
  • Adnan Mohammed Suleiman Age unknown male From Ebien killed
  • Hajj Ibrahim Abdul-Aziz Jalloud Age unknown male From Sarmada killed
  • Hassan Mohammed Bakir Age unknown male killed
  • Majdi Alolo Age unknown From Maarat Misrin
  • Hussein Shahhoud Sharif Age unknown From Al-Atarib
  • Abdullah Al-Teyyawi Age unknown From Ziyara, Sahel Al-Ghab
  • Ahmad Al-Haji Age unknown From Dana
  • Haytham 10 years years old male From Al-Taman’a village in Khan Sheikhoun killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–24
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (35) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (17) [ collapse]

  • Exact moments the alleged Coalition airstrike hit Sarmada. (via Hona Syria Hona Idlib)
  • White Helmets removing charred bodies from the rubble in the aftermath of the alleged Coalition airstrike on Idlib, 1st Jan 2017. (via White Helmets)
  • Prisoners were killed in Al-Nusra prison which was targeted near Sarmada: Wael Yasin, Kafr Dyan Adnan Mohammed Suleiman, Ebien Hajj Ibrahim Abdul-Aziz Jalloud, Sarmada Hassan Mohammed Bakir.
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Pictures for members of the front who were killed at the quarter in Sarmada. (via @fadihussein8)
  • Coordinate of the place bombed (via a private message with Airwars)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via a private message with Airwars)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via a private message with Airwars)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via a private message with Airwars)
  • One of the civilians killed (via a private message with Airwars)
  • Hassan Mohammed Bakro (via a private message with Airwars))
  • One of the civilians killed (via a private message with Airwars)
  • One of the people killed (via a private message with Airwars)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the people killed (via a private message with Airwars)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the people killed (via a private message with Airwars)
  • Translation: In the Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Most Graceful From your brothers in the Court in Sarmada Allah said in his Quran “ And We will surely test you with something of fear and hunger and a loss of wealth and lives and fruits, but give good tidings to the patient, Who, when disaster strikes them, say, Indeed we belong to Allah , and indeed to Him we will return. Those are the ones upon whom are blessings from their Lord and mercy. And it is those who are the [rightly] guided.” Al-Baqara, verses 155-157. We give out condolences to Fateh Al-Sham and the families who lost their loved ones in the Court’s prison and we tell them that we ask Allah to accept their martyrs, heal their wounded and forgive our and your sins. And we would like to clarify the following points: 1- The court’s prison is totally separated from the brothers’ buildings of Fateh Al-Sham head quarter because the place is a long way at the top of the mountain and contains rooms separated from each other and a few months ago, we used two rooms and between these room and the rooms of the brothers in Fateh Al-Sham a distance onlookers can distinguish by looking, and it is clearly signed and reads “ Dar Al-Qada’a” (meaning the court). Nevertheless, the coalition despite their knowledge and investigations did not distinguish between a militant and a civilian as they believe they’re all terrorists. 2- Dar Al-Qada’a (the court) only deals with urgent and important cases such as murder, theft, kidnapping and when there’s an allegation of a big amount of money which is put in place to serve the people and insure their safety and this has been put in place for a couple of months now and is known by all the Muslims because we left the old place which was a school in order to keep people safe and not to give excuses. However, the murderer's’ hand still reaches everyone and doesn’t distinguish anyone. 3- Usually, the number of prisoners a couple of months ago reaches more than a 100, but there were only 24 at this time. May Allah accept those who were killed and heal those who were wounded. 4- Everybody knows that we have been and we are still looking to establish a private place for the court and a prison, we won’t leave this but we completely understand what people are going through and we know their urgent needs. 5- No-one can deny the huge effort the courts are doing in keeping order and minimising chaos in our society. Many offenders wouldn’t do anything fearing punishment. And yet, we do not ask for compliments or gifts in return (A very poetic sentence which means people do the things without asking for a thank you or a reward. AT) May Allah forgive those who offended, hurt or gossiped about others. We here do not deny our shortcomings, perfections is only for Allah, and we do not deny our brothers’ efforts in other courts and we highlight that it is a very important side of worship which helps strengthening our Muslims’ community. May Allah have mercy on everyone. We ask Allah to forgive our sins and treats us with his mercy and justice not by our deeds. Allah blessings and peace of our prophet Mohammed and his family. Wednesday 6/4/1438 (Muslim Caldnder) 4/1/2017 Stamp: Dar Al-Qada’a Sarmada Documentation office. (via a private message with Airwars)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    One of the people killed in the air strike (via Sputnik)
  • Table from May 2020 Pentagon report to Congress, conceding additional US civilian harm events in Iraq and Syria during 2017.

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the town level at 36.18553, 36.72231.

CJTF–OIR Declassified Assessment and Press Release

Attached to this civilian harm incident is the Pentagon's declassified assessment of this civilian harm allegation, obtained by Azmat Khan and the New York Times through Freedom of Information requests and lawsuits filed since March 2017, alongside the corresponding press release published by the Pentagon. Airwars is currently analysing the contents of each file, and will update our own assessments accordingly.

Declassified Assessment Press Release

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    1
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    Sarmada, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SBA952069
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Mar 4, 2017
  • Jan 2, 2020
  • January 3, 2017, in Sarmada, Syria, via media report. US aircraft conducted an airstrike against an Al Qaida facility. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed as a result of the strike. 306/CS425 37SBA952069

  • The report contained insufficient information on the time, location and details of strike to assess its credibility.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For January 2nd-4th the Coalition publicly declared no strikes in Sarmada. However unilateral US airstrikes on al Nusra are not reported by the Coalition.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 children)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–24
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    Al Qaeda/HTS

Sources (35) [ collapse]