Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS1986

Incident date

November 3, 2022

Location

رويشد, Ruwaished, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.723299, 40.449240 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A young man was killed during an airdrop operation allegedly carried out by the Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces in the village of Al Ruwaished on November 3, 2022.

Euphrates Post reported that a young man named Muhannad Ibrahim al-Khalaf was killed during a raid carried out by the SDF at dawn in the village of Al Ruwaished.

According to Naher Media, Muhammad left the SDF after receiving a threat from ISIS several months ago. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that the SDF were raiding the house of someone accused of theft and rape, and an armed clash took place resulting in the death of a young man and arrest of two others.

All of the sources that reported on the incident attributed the operation to the SDF and Coalition forces, with Naher Media specifically pointing out that the military forces that carried out the raid came from the city of Al-Shaddadi in the Hasaka countryside with support from Coalition helicopters.

The incident occured around dawn.

  • Muhannad Ibrahim al-Khalaf Adult male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Ruwaished (رويشد), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.723299, 40.449240. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition 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
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1985

Incident date

October 28, 2022

Location

ذيبان, Thiban, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.00502, 40.513045 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A woman was killed and two others, including a minor, were injured in an alleged airdrop operation carried out by the Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in the Hawija neighborhood of Thiban town, east of Deir Ezzor, on October 28, 2022.

Nahr Media reported that a woman named Nadia Mustafa al-Ali was killed and two other people were injured when an SDF patrol raided the homes of the “Al-Askar” family in the Hawija neighborhood of Thiban town to arrest someone connected to smuggling operations. Clashes broke out between the SDF and the people of the houses, resulting in the casualties. According to Orient News, a minor was among those injured and the SDF arrested a number of people, taking them to al-Omar field base.

Local sources from Deir Ezzor governorate told Alaraby News that ““a woman was killed on Thursday/Friday night, and two other people were injured of varying degrees, in addition to the arrest of several people following a raid carried out by the SDF with the support of US helicopters of the coalition forces,” adding that this was an operation carried out by the SDF and the US Coalition.

@DeirEzzore added that the clashes were between the SDF/Coalition forces and people who smuggle oil cross the Euphrates River.

Orient News pointed out that this operation was part of an increase of operations carried out by the Coalition and SDF, with the majority of them occurring in Deir Ezzor

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Nadia Mustafa al-Ali Adult female killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Al Hawija (الحويجة) neighbourhood, reportedly within the town of Thiban (ذيبان), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.00502, 40.513045. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition 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
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1983

Incident date

September 20, 2022

Location

قرية البيدر, Al Baydar in Al Karama village, Raqqa, Syria

Geolocation

35.859327, 39.310004 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Two civilians, a man and his minor son, were killed and another man, who is alleged to be a civilian or a member of ISIS, was injured during an airdrop operation carried out by the Coalition and the SDF in the village of Al Baydar on September 20, 2022.

According to the Euphrates Post, Muhammad Al-Shalash and his son Abadi Al-Shalash were killed during a raid carried out by the SDF (Syrian Democratic Forces) along with the Coalition in the village of Al Baydar.

Eye of Euphrates added that the father and son were shot when the American forces and the SDF were trying to arrest a displaced person from the countryside of Aleppo and residing in the village who had fled to the home of the Al-Shalash family and was firing at the raiding forces. The correspondent added that a third civilian was wounded by a bullet and taken to the hospital and that the intended person was arrested during the raid.

@AlkneterOthman tweeted that the wounded person is the other son of Muhammad and Baladi News provided the name of the wounded son as Muhammad Al-Shalash, detailing that he was taken to Raqqa hospital for treatment of his injuries. According to Nedaa Post, the wounded son Muhammad was the intended person to be arrested and was arrested on charges of “working in the ranks of ISIS cells in the area”. The three men had only been in the area for ten days and were displaced from a village in northern Aleppo.

Shaam News disputed that the injured person was a member of ISIS, referring to him as a civilian, and reporting that the SDF “raided the house because it received information about the names of wanted persons, who are relatives of the owner of the house that they raided, but instead of raiding the house of the wanted persons, they mistakenly raided another house.”

@DeirEzzore identified Abadi, the son that was killed, as being a minor, and reported that the raid occurred at approximately 3:30 in the morning. @DeirEzzore added that the father and son were from “the Al-Bureij clan – Al-Aliat”.

All of the sources referred to the incident as a joint operation between the SDF and Coalition, with some sources blaming the shooting on the SDF while others attributed the shooting to the Coalition.

The incident occured at approximately 3:30 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Strike target
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–1

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Al Baydar (البيدر), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.859327, 39.310004. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Strike target
    IDP or refugee camp
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported injured
    0–1

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1982

Incident date

July 4, 2022

Location

الزر, Al Zer, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.124387, 40.432541 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Two children under the age of 18 were killed during a joint Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces airdrop operation in the village of Al Zer on July 4th, 2022. Sources were conflicted as to whether the two killed were civilians or members of ISIS.

Al Khabour posted on Facebook that a young man named “Muhammad Fateh Khalaf Al-Daham” and another person were killed during an airdrop operation carried out by the Coalition in the village of Al Zer. Euphrates Post added that the other person killed was an IDP and @19had93eel identified the two people killed as civilians.

According to @syria_news123, a “citizen” was killed and another was wounded by the SDF during an operation with the support of the “American occupation forces,” with @19had93eel specifying that Coalition helicopters participated and that the occupation was carried out at dawn.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) stated that the two men that were killed were accused of working for ISIS and were killed when they resisted arrest. Activists specified to SOHR that one of the men killed was detained for about four months by the SDF and had been released in April, while the other man was accompanied by his mother and was working to distribute financial guarantees to the women of ISIS in the area.

Private sources told Euphrates Post that the operation was carried out at a house near the “Al-Munkar” neighborhood that was inhabited by a displaced family from Aleppo and resulted in the death of a 14 year old member of ISIS named Omar who was from Aleppo whose father was a former member of ISIS and was detained by the SDF, while the other child killed, Muhammad Fateh Khalaf Al-Daham, was a 17 year old who had been released from SDF prison two months ago. The sources added that  the two people killed had been holding a lunch feast and that Coalition drones had been flying in the area at the time.

The Syrian Network for Human Rights reported that the two people were shot and killed when SDF personnel raided a house while Orient News referred to the operation as involving “light bombs”.

The incident occured around dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • (0–2 children)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Syrian Democratic Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Al Zer (الزر), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.124387, 40.432541. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Syrian Democratic Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Syrian Democratic Forces
  • Syrian Democratic 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 – 2
  • (0–2 children)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Syrian Democratic Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1981

Incident date

June 9, 2022

Location

العطالة, Al-Atta, Hassakah, Syria

Airwars assessment

At least one man was killed during an airdrop operation carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces and alleged US-led Coalition in the village of Al-Atta in the countryside of Al-Shaddadi city at dawn on June 9, 2022. Sources were conflicted as to whether the man killed was a civilian or a member of ISIS.

Al Khabour reported that one person was killed during an airdrop operation by the international coalition backed by helicopters at dawn on June 9th. Coalition forces carried out the operation at the house of “Hamed Al-Nasser” in the village of Al-Atta, storming his house after imposing a curfew on the people through loudspeakers and asking them not to leave their houses.

According to Al-Khabour Network correspondent, Al-Nasser worked in an agricultural pharmacy and was the imam of a mosque in the area, adding that “he was arrested for a year and a half by the militias of the Democratic Union Party “PYD” and released earlier.” @asdaslm9 added that Al-Nasser was from the Baggara tribe.

Euphrates Post identified the operation as being carried out by both the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Coalition, adding that Al-Nasser was killed for resisting arrest during the operation. However, Al Mahjar reported that the “young man” was killed after the attacking forces arrested him.

According to @alhariri58, Hamed Al-Nasser’s house was a “civilian house” while @jamlyyyyy_ referred to Al-Nasser as being a “leader of the ISIS organization.” Other sources that reported on the incident were also conflicted as to whether the man killed was a civilian or a militant, with Athar press referring to him as a “civilian who had never participated in any armed action”.

All of the sources reported that the operation was carried out by the Coalition, the SDF, or both, with Syrian Observatory for Human Rights adding that “Al-Atta village is not far from the American base in the city of Al-Shaddadi”, with Athar Press pointing out that it was “remarkable” that the “American forces” would use the airdrop method for a raid so close to their base.

The SDF released a statement that “Special united of the Syrian Democratic Forces carried out a security operation with the support of the International Coalition forces in the southern countryside of Hasaka. The operation targeted a wanted ISIS leader in the village of Al-Atta in Al-Shaddadi countryside, south of Al-Hasakah. He was active in transferring and distributing funds to the organization’s cells and their families, in addition to promoting the organization’s ideological messages, and participating in planning operations targeting service, military and security institutions. The forces executing the raid pursued the desired target after he fled his house, and appealed to him to surrender, but he opened fire, which prompted our forces and the international coalition to deal, and after the shooting stopped and the place was combed, it was found that he had died due to his injury. The weapon that was in the target’s possession was confiscated, the place was thoroughly searched, and other documents belonging to him were found.”

The incident occured around dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known attacker
    Syrian Democratic Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (25) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Man killed during alleged Coalition airdrop operation in Al-Atta village on June 9, 2022. (Image posted by Al Khabour)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Syrian Democratic Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    Syrian Democratic Forces
  • Syrian Democratic Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

Syrian Democratic Forces

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Special units of the Syrian Democratic Forces carried out a security operation with the support of the International Coalition forces in the southern countryside of Hasaka.
The operation targeted a wanted ISIS leader in the village of Al-Atta in Al-Shaddadi countryside, south of Al-Hasakah. He was active in transferring and distributing funds to the organization’s cells and their families, in addition to promoting the organization’s ideological messages, and participating in planning operations targeting service, military and security institutions.
The forces executing the raid pursued the desired target after he fled his house, and appealed to him to surrender, but he opened fire, which prompted our forces and the international coalition to deal, and after the shooting stopped and the place was combed, it was found that he had died due to his injury.
The weapon that was in the target's possession was confiscated, the place was thoroughly searched, and other documents belonging to him were found.
Our special units concerned with combating terrorism continue with our security forces, in partnership with the international coalition, their activities in combating terrorism and the cells of the terrorist organization ISIS, in order to maintain the security of the region and stabilize the stability that terrorist cells and their supporters seek to undermine.


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Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known attacker
    Syrian Democratic Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (25) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1980

Incident date

March 28, 2022

Location

ذيبان, Thiban, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.005020, 40.513045 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least one man was killed and another was arrested during a joint airdrop operation carried out by the Syrian Democratic Forces and the Coalition on March 28, 2022. Sources were conflicted as to whether the man killed was a militant or a civilian.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), backed by the Coalition forces and helicopters carried out a raid at a house of a suspected ISIS member in Al-Litwah neighbourhood in Thiban city. After refusing to surrender, the man was killed and his house was blown up. Al Khabour identified the name of the man to be 35 year old Abdul Salem Al-Abo.

According to Euphrates Post, the SDF asked the man to surrender over loudspeakers after they had surrounded him and he was hit by helicopter fire after he tried to flee, which resulted in his death. The source also pinpointed his house as being near the al-Rudaini Mosque and added that his house was blown up with explosive devices by the SDF after his family was evacuated.

Local media @YusufAd76532779 tweeted that Abdul Salem Al-Abo’s father was arrested during the operation and that Abdul “returned from Turkey about five months ago and settled in the town of “Theban” and smuggled oil from the areas controlled by the PKK/PYD militia to the areas controlled by the Assad militia west of the Euphrates River (Shamiya)”.

Tweets from @NourYoussef111 and @WestAsia21, in addition to reporting from regime-controlled Syrian Arab News Agency, referred to a civilian being killed during the operation but it is unclear if they are referring to Abdul.

All of the sources that reported on the incident referred to the operation as being a joint operation between the SDF and the Coalition, with Euphrates Post specifying that the operation was carried out by a helicopter belonging to the International Coalition forces accompanied by a drone and a ground force from the SDF on the ground.

The incident occured at 01:00:00 local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • (0–1 men)
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Thiban (ذيبان), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.005020, 40.513045. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition 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
  • (0–1 men)
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–1

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1978

Incident date

February 8, 2022

Location

البصيرة, Bisira, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.154879, 40.426462 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

At least one civilian, a child, was killed and his father was injured in an alleged airdrop operation by the Coalition and the SDF in the city of Bisira on February 8, 2022.

A tweet from @DeirEzzorNow reported that the International Coalition and HAT forces carried out a landing operation in the city of Bisira that resulted in the killing of the child “Nashwan Al-Jamil” (15) (Qasqas), the wounding of his father, Hassoun Al-Jamil, and the arrest of (3) people. Hassoun was identified as being a “dignitary of the Al-Bukair clan”. Euphrates Post added that Hassoun was had to have his leg amputated.

@DeirEzzorNow also provided the names of the men that were arrested: Hasan Al Jamil, Tariq Al Jamil, Bashir Ghadhban.

The correspondent for Euphrates Post reported that  “SDF” members surrounded the house of Hassoun al-Jamil, a dignitary of the al-Bakeir clan in Deir ez-Zor countryside, and started shooting at his house on the pretext of the house owner’s resistance to them, knowing that “Hassoun” is a civilian and does not belong to any political or military party.”

Syrian Observatory for Human Rights identified the child that was killed as being the brother of the wanted person, and that their father exchanged gunfire with the SDF and Coalition. North Press Agency referred to two people as being killed, a child and a local sheikh.

Deir Ezzor 24 provided context that Coalition and SDF forces were trying to capture ISIS members who were involved with Iranian networks specializing in weapons smuggling. The civilian casualties resulted from ISIS members using civilians as human shields and the operation was stopped right after the civilian victims were engaged.

The incident occured in the morning.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Nashwan Al-Jamil 15 years old male killed
  • Hassoun Al-Jamil male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    None known
  • Civilians reported killed
    1 – 2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • ISIS members arrested by SDF in an operation on February 8, 2022. (Image posted by North Press Agency)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the town of Bisira (البصيرة), for which the generic coordinates are: 35.154879, 40.426462. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition 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
    1 – 2
  • (1 child1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (21) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1977

Incident date

February 3, 2022

Location

طمة, دير بلوط, Deir Balout, Atma, Syria

Geolocation

36.318883, 36.681660 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Up to thirteen civilians, including six children and four women, were reported killed and at least one child was injured after US forces targeted and subsequently killed the leader of the Islamic State (ISIS), Abu Ibrahim al-Hashimi al-Qurayshi, in Atma, northwest Syria on February 3rd 2022. Local reporting was conflicted as to whether the casualties were caused by US forces or in the detonation of a suicide device. Local sources were also conflicted regarding the civilian status of the adults harmed in the incident.

Al-Qurayshi had been the leader of ISIS since his predecessor Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was also killed in a US operation on October 26th, 2019.

Reports indicated that the operation began with Apache helicopters and drones circling the area, with heavy machine gun fire targeted at the residential building just after 1am. According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, US forces “carried out an airdrop in that area, where soldiers had called, via loudspeakers, to evacuate women and children from a house”. After 15 minutes, the sound of gunfire was reported – marking the beginning of a two hour long standoff, culminating in the alleged detonation of a suicide device from inside the building.

Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby in a statement on February 3rd, noted that there was gunfire between US forces and ‘lieutenants’ of al-Qurayshi on the second floor of the building, as well as in the area surrounding the building. He reported that al-Qurayshi was on the third floor of the building when he detonated the explosive device.

Regarding civilian harm, Kirby stated that four civilians had been killed during the raid, including three children: the wife and two children of al-Qurayshi killed on the third floor, and another child when “one of [al-Qurayshi’s] lieutenants and the lieutenant’s wife [were] firing back at our forces. They were killed and it appears as if a child was also killed on that second floor.”

None of the deaths have yet been confirmed by the US to have resulted directly from US actions, with Kirby noting: “the lives of innocents taken in this operation were caused by Abdullah and his decision of blowing himself up”. In reference to the child killed on the floor below al-Qurayshi, Kirby noted that “it’s a loss caused by Mr. Abdullah and his lieutenant”, however he also stated that the information was as yet not definitive: “we’re willing to take a look to just examine and make sure that there wasn’t any action that we might have taken that could have also caused harm to innocents”.

Syria TV and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) instead noted that either one or two women had detonated the explosive device – with SOHR stating that at least one of the women was non-Syrian, and Syria TV stating that she was of Russian or Chechen origin. This was not corroborated by other sources.

In an eyewitness account, a woman living in the same building that was targeted in the raid said: “The planes came around 1am. They started shouting at us. There was a first, second and third floor. They were saying we needed to get out of the house – men, women and children – and that we would be killed if not. They fired a missile/shell while we were inside, then they fired bullets and we were inside.” The woman added: “I came out behind them but I didn’t see them on the ground. They said put your hands on your head and get on the ground and take off your hijab. I was very scared. I couldn’t tolerate it… They took the kids from me directly and they searched me and handcuffed my hands behind me.”

Graphic images were circulated in the early hours of February 3rd on social media of several young children killed in the attack. The Syrian Civil Defense (White Helmets) teams reported the death of at least 13 people, stating: “Our teams treated the injured and recovered the bodies, handed over two bodies to the forensic medicine in the city of Idlib and secured the place to protect civilians.”

The White Helmets also added that a girl and another individual were injured in the attack. In their statement they report that “our teams rushed an injured child to the hospital. The child’s entire family was killed in the operation. The teams also rushed another person to the hospital who was injured in the clashes when he approached the scene to witness what was happening.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights put the initial death toll at nine.

UNICEF also confirmed the deaths of the children in the incident: “UNICEF confirms that at least six children were killed and one girl was badly injured overnight in the border town of [Atme] in the northwest of Syria due to heavy violence”.

In his statement about the incident, President Joe Biden said that they had “made a choice to minimise civilian casualties” by conducting the attack with special forces rather than by an airstrike, given the presence of al-Qurayshi’s family, including children, in the area.

The Guardian reported statements from US Officials, who said “there were moments of tension, when one of the helicopters malfunctioned and had to be landed and then destroyed, and then when the special forces team called for family members to come out of the building, knowing there were children inside”.

Airwars will update this incident as new information comes to light.

The incident occured at 01:00:00 local time.

  • Israa Child female injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    9 – 13
  • (6 children4 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • 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.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–5

Sources (61) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (74) [ collapse]

  • A US forces raid on a house overnight on February 3rd caused significant destruction and at least eleven civilian were killed by the first reports (Image via Ahmad Bakkar/ Facebook)
  • A US forces raid on a house overnight on February 3rd caused significant destruction and at least eleven civilian were killed by the first reports (Image via Ahmad Bakkar/ Facebook)
  • A US forces raid on a house overnight on February 3rd caused significant destruction and at least eleven civilian were killed by the first reports (Image via Ahmad Bakkar/ Facebook)
  • 1 of 2: Syria TV published "pictures of the house that was targeted by the American forces at dawn today" on February 3rd 2022 (Image via Facebook)
  • 2 of 2: Syria TV published "pictures of the house that was targeted by the American forces at dawn today" on February 3rd 2022 (Image via Facebook)
  • 1 of 2: Syrian Civil Defense respond to the scene in the morning of February 3rd 2022 after a US air raid (Image via Syria TV)
  • 2 of 2: Syrian Civil Defense respond to the scene in the morning of February 3rd 2022 after a US air raid (Image via Syria TV)
  • "All that's left of the home the COalition targeted" (Video via @NotWoofers)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A young girl wounded in the fighting after a US air drop operation targeted a house in Dayr Balut on February 3rd 2022 in the early hours of the morning. Reports indicate that at least eleven civilians were killed (Image via @NotWoofers) / Twitter)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    1 of 4: Pictures showed the remains of child victims after a US air drop which has reportedly killed at least eleven civilians, including at least six children (Image via Shaam)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    2 of 4: Pictures showed the remains of child victims after a US air drop which has reportedly killed at least eleven civilians, including at least six children (Image via Shaam)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    3 of 4: Pictures showed the remains of child victims after a US air drop which has reportedly killed at least eleven civilians, including at least six children (Image via Shaam)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    4 of 4: Pictures showed the remains of child victims after a US air drop which has reportedly killed at least eleven civilians, including at least six children (Image via Shaam)
  • 1 of 7: Shaam news uploaded photographs of the destruction and remains of the house which was targeted by a US air drop operation on February 3rd in the Atma region of northern Syria (Image via Facebook)
  • 2 of 7: Shaam news uploaded photographs of the destruction and remains of the house which was targeted by a US air drop operation on February 3rd in the Atma region of northern Syria (Image via Facebook)
  • 3 of 7: Shaam news uploaded photographs of the destruction and remains of the house which was targeted by a US air drop operation on February 3rd in the Atma region of northern Syria (Image via Facebook)
  • 4 of 7: Shaam news uploaded photographs of the destruction and remains of the house which was targeted by a US air drop operation on February 3rd in the Atma region of northern Syria (Image via Facebook)
  • 5 of 7: Shaam news uploaded photographs of the destruction and remains of the house which was targeted by a US air drop operation on February 3rd in the Atma region of northern Syria (Image via Facebook)
  • 6 of 7: Shaam news uploaded photographs of the destruction and remains of the house which was targeted by a US air drop operation on February 3rd in the Atma region of northern Syria (Image via Facebook)
  • 7 of 7: Shaam news uploaded photographs of the destruction and remains of the house which was targeted by a US air drop operation on February 3rd in the Atma region of northern Syria (Image via Facebook)
  • Shaam news uploaded photographs of the destruction and remains of the house which was targeted by a US air drop operation on February 3rd in the Atma region of northern Syria (Image via Facebook)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    1 of 4: Photos of those killed and their remains after a US forces airdrop on February 3rd 2022 in Atma, Idlib (Image via @ahmedalqaaa / Twitter)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    2 of 4: Photos of those killed and their remains after a US forces airdrop on February 3rd 2022 in Atma, Idlib (Image via @ahmedalqaaa / Twitter)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    3 of 4: Photos of those killed and their remains after a US forces airdrop on February 3rd 2022 in Atma, Idlib (Image via @ahmedalqaaa / Twitter)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    4 of 4: Photos of those killed and their remains after a US forces airdrop on February 3rd 2022 in Atma, Idlib (Image via @ahmedalqaaa / Twitter)
  • Wreckage of the US helicopter which allegedly participated in the air drop operation (Image via @Ali9aa9 / Twitter)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    "One of the targetes in the landing of Atma" (Image via @Ali9aa9 / Twitter)
  • "The killing of Abu Satif Zaidan of the Al-Jolani Authority, shot by the #coalition, when he was near the target place for the landing in #Atma." (Image via @mzmgr941 / Twitter)
  • A picture of a child allegedly killed in the US air drop on February 3rd 2022 (Image via @MzmjerSh / Twitter)
  • 1 of 3: "Remnants of the airdrop of the American occupation in the town of Atma on the Syrian-Turkish border." (Image via @jamlyyyyy_ / Twitter)
  • 2 of 3: "Remnants of the airdrop of the American occupation in the town of Atma on the Syrian-Turkish border." (Image via @jamlyyyyy_ / Twitter)
  • 3 of 3: "Remnants of the airdrop of the American occupation in the town of Atma on the Syrian-Turkish border." (Image via @jamlyyyyy_ / Twitter)
  • Syrian Civil Defense report that at least 13 people were killed in an US air drop operation on February 3rd 2022 (SCD / Facebook)
  • Drone footage of the location of the US air raid on February 3rd 2022 (Euphrates / Facebook)
  • Drone footage of the location of the US air raid on February 3rd 2022 (Euphrates / Facebook)
  • Footage of site where US air raid took place on February 3rd 2022 (Andalou Agency)
  • The site of US air raid on February 3rd 2022 (Syrian Network for Human Rights)
  • Syrian Civil Defense attend rescue mission after US air raid on February 3rd 2022 (Syrian Network for Human Rights)
  • Hipa Press reported from the site of US air raid on February 3rd 2022.
  • Hipa Press reported from the site of US air raid on February 3rd 2022.
  • Hipa Press reported from the site of US air raid on February 3rd 2022.
  • Destruction and remnants of US air raid on February 3rd 2022 (Image via Anadolu Agency / Ezzedine Al-Qasim)
  • Destruction and remnants of US air raid on February 3rd 2022 (Image via Anadolu Agency / Ezzedine Al-Qasim)
  • Destruction and remnants of US air raid on February 3rd 2022 (Image via Anadolu Agency / Ezzedine Al-Qasim)
  • Destruction and remnants of US air raid on February 2nd 2022 (Image via Anadolu Agency / Ezzedine Al-Qasim)
  • Destruction after the US air raid near Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via Rozana / Facebook)
  • Destruction after the US air raid near Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via Rozana / Facebook)
  • Destruction after the US air raid near Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via Rozana / Facebook)
  • Destruction after the US air raid near Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via Rozana / Facebook)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Abdullah Qardash, the leader of ISIS, declared killed during a US-air raid (Image via Ahmad Rahhal / Facebook)
  • Abdullah Qardash, the leader of ISIS, declared killed during a US-air raid (Image via Ahmad Rahhal / Facebook)
  • The wreckage of the US helicopter during US raid on Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via @GHpeFLa8lXjtE5X / Twitter)
  • The wreckage of the US helicopter during US raid on Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via @GHpeFLa8lXjtE5X / Twitter)
  • The wreckage of the US helicopter during US raid on Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via @GHpeFLa8lXjtE5X / Twitter)
  • The wreckage of the US helicopter during US raid on Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via @GHpeFLa8lXjtE5X / Twitter)
  • The wreckage of the US helicopter during US raid on Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via @Step_Agency/ Twitter)
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  • The wreckage of the US helicopter during US raid on Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via @Step_Agency/ Twitter)
  • The wreckage of the US helicopter during US raid on Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via @Step_Agency/ Twitter)
  • The wreckage of the US helicopter during US raid on Atma on February 3rd 2022 (Image via @Step_Agency/ Twitter)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a raid on a house in the town of Atma (أطمة). Analyzing audio-visual material from sources, we narrowed down the location to the following coordinates: 36.318883, 36.681660.

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  • Imagery:
    Euphrates

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    9 – 13
  • (6 children4 women1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1–2
  • 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.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    4–5

Sources (61) [ collapse]