12. On 4 February, a Government helicopter dropped a barrel bomb on Masakin Hanano, hitting two residential buildings and a mosque. The attack killed 12 people, most of whom were children attending religious classes at the mosque. The attack followed a pattern of barrel bombs hitting soft targets in Masakin Hanano in early February, including two primary schools, a mosque and a field hospital. Each attack resulted in the deaths of dozens of children, many of whom were internally displaced persons from Rif Aleppo.
Al-Haydaria, Rif Aleppo, 9 February 2014
13. As civilians were fleeing Aleppo following an intensive period of bombardment from 1 to 5 February, at 8am on 9 February a Government helicopter dropped a barrel bomb on Al-Haydaria roundabout, a transport hub and gathering point for vehicles transporting internally displaced persons. A victim of the attack, a mother whose three children were severely injured, stated that there were over 200 people gathered around the area, all civilians waiting for buses. She described seeing “dead bodies, some charred and others with severed limbs, scattered all over the place, people screaming in pain and others burning inside minibuses.” Another barrel bomb was fired at minibuses heading from Al-Haydaria toward the border. The attacks hit approximately 10 vehicles, killing at least 20 civilians, including women and children, and injuring many more.
Al-Sakhour, Aleppo city, 11 February 2014
14. On 11 February, a Government helicopter dropped three barrel bombs on residential buildings and a vegetable market in Al-Sakhour. At least 7 civilians were killed and over 14 others severely injured by the attacks, which caused extensive damage to civilian infrastructure. As a result of this and other barrel bomb attacks on Al-Sakhour, one resident described the district as “flattened.” Victims of the attack fled Aleppo city, as part of a mass displacement toward the border.
Masakin Hanano, Aleppo city, 17 February 2014
15. On 17 February, a Government helicopter dropped a barrel bomb on a densely populated roundabout. The area was a well-known and crowded bus station and transport hub. A witness of the attack described seeing victim’s bodies and limbs strewn about a large area, with many bodies torn to pieces. This made it “impossible to make a body count”. Available information indicates that over 15 people, all civilians, were killed in the attack. There were no military targets in the immediate vicinity of the targeted area.
Ain Al-Tal (Handarat) Palestinian Camp, Rif Aleppo, 21 and 22 February 2014
16. Palestinian refugees living in Ain Al-Tal camp described how a Government helicopter dropped two barrel bombs on the camp, killing a woman and a child and injuring at least 8 others on 21 February. Following the attack, approximately 100 people fled the camp toward the border. While travelling on the road from Al-Jandoul Handarat to Azaz on 22 February, a Government helicopter dropped bombs on their cars, indicating a deliberate attempt to target those fleeing the camp.
Fafeen, Rif Aleppo, 22 February 2014
17. After a barrel bomb was dropped near Fafeen on 22 February, a family living nearby rushed to collect their belongings and flee the area. Surviving family members described how they were about to leave their house, when a Government helicopter dropped a barrel bomb in their yard, killing their relatives: three young women, a female child and a female adult.
Al-Sukkari, Aleppo city, 23 March 2014
18. On 23 March at 10am, a Government fighter jet fired a missile at Al-Wadi street, a crowded thoroughfare in Al-Sukkari. A victim who was in his workshop on the street described how his 13-year-old nephew was killed immediately as a result of severe shrapnel injuries. At least 20 people were killed in the attack, including 5 children. As a result of the attack, residential buildings in the area sustained heavy damage. Victims stated that there were no military targets or armed group presence on Al-Wadi street.
Al-Shaar, Aleppo city, 4 and 6 April 2014
19. A Government helicopter dropped barrel bombs on a residential neighbourhood in Al-Shaar district, just prior to Friday prayers. The attack killed 20 people, among them women and children. Dozens more were injured in the attack, which caused significant destruction of residential infrastructure in Al-Shaar. On 6 April, a helicopter targeted the same area with two consecutive barrel bombs, killing at least 20 civilians. The attacks appeared to target shops, residential buildings and crowded streets.
Tel Jabin, Aleppo, 5 April 2014
20. On 5 April, a Government helicopter dropped two barrel bombs on Tel Jabin, killing 10 people, including a woman and her three children. Tel Jabin is a hub for IDPs.
Tel Jabin, Aleppo, 20 April 2014
21. On 20 April, a Government helicopter hit Tel Jabin with two consecutive barrel bombs which killed 8 people, including a woman and 4 children. At least 20 other people were severely injured in the attack.
Biideen, Aleppo city, 20 April 2014
22. A Government helicopter dropped four barrel bombs in close sequence on Biideen neighbourhood. The attack was accompanied by artillery and mortar shelling, leading to the deaths of 30 people and injury of dozens more. The victims of the attack were civilians buried under the rubble of collapsed buildings hit by barrel bombs. The area appeared to be targeted due to the large number of internally displaced persons seeking shelter from hostilities in nearby areas.
Al-Fardous, Aleppo city, 20 April 2014
23. On 20 April, a Government helicopter consecutively dropped two barrel bombs on Al-Fardous neighbourhood, a densely populated area. The first barrel bomb hit a crowded commercial street. The second bomb fell 400 metres away, on residential buildings. At least 40 people were killed, among them women and children. The bombs were dropped around 5pm, when the street was most crowded with people shopping for basic goods. The frontline in Aleppo city is three kilometres away from the site of the attack. Victims of the attack stated that there was no armed group presence in the vicinity.
Ain Jalout School, Al-Ansari al-Sharqi, Aleppo city, 30 April
24. On the morning of 30 April, Ain Jalout School in Al-Ansari al-Sharqi, Aleppo city, was hit by two consecutive missiles. The attacks killed 35 people, including 33 children, and severely injured approximately 40 more. The school was targeted at a time when parents and children gathered in large numbers for an exhibition of children’s artwork depicting their experiences of war. Ansar Al-Aqida uses a building that is part of the same school complex as a barracks for approximately 50 fighters. However, the timing of the attacks and their repetitive nature indicates that the attacks had the intention of wounding and killing as many people as possible. Ain Jalout School had previously been attacked in 2013. The character and context of the attacks on the school make it apparent that Government forces could not consistently mistaken their target to be the school building rather than the adjacent barracks of Ansar Al-Aqida. In addition to wounding and killing children, attacks on schools damage educational infrastructure and militarise civilian areas.
Al-Halak, Aleppo city, 1 May 2014
25. At 4pm on 1 May, a Government fighter jet fired three consecutive missiles on Al-Halak market, killing at least 40 and wounding over 100 people. A victim of the attack described that at the time of the attack the market was crowded with people, all of whom were civilians buying basic goods such as fuel for generators.
Armanaz, Aleppo, 5 May 2014
26. On 5 May around 12pm, Armanaz was hit with two rockets fired from a fighter jet. The two rockets consecutively hit the same residential building, which was inhabited by civilians. Residents of the building and victims of the attacks stated that there were neither military activities nor armed group fighters in the area. A man who witnessed the attack and helped pull bodies from under the rubble described seeing the dead bodies of three children and a woman. Nearby buildings were severely damaged. Residents whose homes were destroyed were forced to leave Armanaz.
Al-Sukkari, Aleppo city, 10 May 2014
27. A construction site in Al-Sukkari was attacked on the morning of 10 May with a barrel bomb, killing 16 men. The area, under the control of Liwa al-Tawhid at the time of the attack contained no military targets in the immediate vicinity of the attack. According to victims, there was an armed group checkpoint 300 metres away from the site. The attack appeared to target clear evidence of civilian life.
Bustan Al-Qasr, Aleppo city, 30 May 2014
28. At 1pm on 30 May, a Government helicopter dropped two barrel bombs on Karraj Al-Hajz street. A man described how he rushed to the site of the attack and witnessed many women and children among the dead and wounded. While first responders were collecting the dead and wounded, the site was targeted a second time. At least 10 people were killed in the attack and 22 others injured. According to doctors who treated the victims at Al-Zarzour hospital, most of the casualties were civilians.
Al-Sakhour, Aleppo city, 10 June 2014
29. On 10 June, two consecutive barrel bombs targeted a site in Al-Sakhour located 250 metres from an armed group base. The bombs hit residential buildings, adjacent to a mosque and Al-Sakhour hospital. The bombs caused serious damage to houses and resulted in the deaths of 10 children, among other civilians. Residents who helped collect their bodies described how without proper tools and machinery, many of the victims were trapped under the rubble of their homes until days following the attack.
Al-Sukkari, Aleppo city, 16 June 2014
30. On 16 June, a Government helicopter dropped two barrel bombs on Al-Sukkari district. The first bomb hit a residential building. The second bomb, fired less than 10 minutes after the first, hit a main intersection close to the Al-Sukkari Local Council located less than 50 metres away from the site of the first attack. The intersection was deliberately targeted. Victims described that the local council office was conducting two days of aid distribution, with hundreds of families gathering to collect assistance at the time of the attack. It is unlikely that Government forces could have mistaken the crowded intersection with nearby Ahrar Al-Sham bases in Al-Sukkari, stationed in the Al-Thawra Elementary School and Al-Rabi’ee wedding hall. The timing and deliberate nature of the attack indicates that civilians were its object.
Jasem, Dara’a, 12 February 2014
31. On 12 February, people shopping at a market in Jasem heard the sound of a helicopter flying overhead and started running to hide. Moments later, a barrel bomb dropped on the market, killing 16 persons. Shops and buildings in the marketplace were destroyed. The marketplace and the people shopping appeared to be the object of the attack.
Dara’a city, 16 May 2014
32. At 2pm, Government forces aerially bombarded a residential neighbourhood in Dara’a city, killing 6 civilians, including a woman and a 5-year-old child and injuring many others. First responders and nearby residents that rushed to their assistance were targeted 15 minutes after the initial attack, killing many of them.
Dael, Dara’a, mid-June 2014
33. A barrel bomb was dropped on a residential neighbourhood in Dael in mid-June, killing five people including a woman and a child. The closest armed group position was located 1.5 kilometres away. The victims of the attack could not access the nearest hospital as it was in a Government-controlled area and wounded persons were not allowed to pass through checkpoints.
Al-Shajara, Dara’a, 18 June 2014
34. On 18 June, a camp for internally displaced persons located in and around a school in Al-Shajara was hit by a barrel bomb. Twelve people were killed in the attack and two others died of severe injuries before reaching medical treatment. According to doctors who treated victims of the attack, all those injured were civilians. They bore multiple injuries, many resulting in amputations due to severe wounds to their limbs, consistent with the damage caused by barrel bombs.
2. Non-State armed groups
Anti-Government armed groups
Adra, Rif Damascus, 11 and 12 December 2013
35. On 11 December 2013, armed groups – including Jabhat al-Nusra and Jaysh al-Islam – entered Adra. They entered civilian houses and, in some instances, screened and removed men on sectarian grounds. At least 15 men were shot and killed after being removed from their houses.
36. Badr al-Din al-Husseini Institute in Shaghur, Old City of Damascus on 29 April was shelled by anti-Government armed groups stationed in Jobar, resulting in the deaths of 17 and injury of over 86 children and adults. It followed a clear pattern of armed groups using their artillery and mortar shelling capabilities to target soft targets, in particular school yards in the Old City of Damascus, where numerous children congregate. Anti-Government armed groups have intentionally targeted civilian localities due to their perceived support of the Government, occasionally along sectarian lines. The shelling of schools in Damascus is calculated and deliberate.
Ma’an, Hama, 24 December 2013
37. On 24 December 2013, an anti-Government armed group entered Ma’an, a village 30 kilometres north of Hama city. While some local men attempted to defend the village, they were quickly overrun. Armed group fighters killed between 10 and 15 civilians, including women and children, inside the village. All of those killed were Alawite. Later, Liwa al-Islam, Jabhat al-Nusra and Jund Al-Aqsa posted videos of the attack. The majority of Ma’an’s residents fled following this attack. Most of those who remained were too poor, elderly or disabled to leave.
Ma’an, Hama, 9 February 2014
38. In the early hours of 9 February, residents woke to the sound of gunfire and mortar shelling. Armed groups, including Jabhat al-Nusra and Liwa al-Qasa attacked Ma’an. Again, some men in the village attempted to defend it but they were quickly overrun. Approximately nine of them were shot and killed while fleeing. At least 20 civilians were shot and killed in the attack.
Al-Salamiya, Hama, 11 April 2014
39. On 11 April, a group affiliated to Jabhat al-Nusra attacked Al-Majbal checkpoint, 20 kilometres from Al-Salamiya. The checkpoint, run by approximately 22 Syrian army and members of the National Defence Force, was intended to cut the rebel supply lines to Ar Raqqah governorate. The checkpoint had been the object of attack previously but on this occasion, was overrun. Some were killed in the initial attack while others managed to escape. Approximately 13 were captured alive and immediately executed. Three bodies were burnt beyond recognition and ten had been reportedly, though it is unclear whether they were beheaded while still alive.
40. Al-Kindi hospital, in northern Aleppo city, occupied a strategic area close to a front line and overlooking several opposition-controlled neighbourhood. It had not been used as a hospital since 2012 when it was captured by the FSA. In December 2012, it was turned into a military base by the Syrian army. Aside from being briefly held by the FSA in May 2013, it remained under the control of the Government under 20 December 2013. On that date, Jabhat al-Nusra took control of the hospital, after targeting it with two suicide bombings. While most of the Syrian army soldiers escaped, between 10 and 15 were captured by Jabhat al-Nusra. The group later released a video showing its fighters shooting the captured soldiers in the head.
Arman Street, Homs city, 6 March 2014
41. Arman street is a main commercial thoroughfare in Homs city. Residents in that area are mainly Christian and Alawite. There are no military targets in the area, considered to be one of the safer places in the city. At approximately 3pm on 6 March, a car bomb exploded on the entrance of the street, killing at least nine people, including women and children. It also injured several dozen people.
Al-Zahra, Homs city, 17 March 2014
42. On 17 March, an armed group detonated a car bomb in the Al-Zahra neighbourhood of Homs city. Al-Zahra is a residential area with a mixed population of Sunni, Shia and Alawite. There are no checkpoints or other military targets in the area. The bomb exploded on a crowded, narrow, commercial street. As the explosion occurred at approximately 4.30pm, the area was crowded with civilians. At least six people died instantly with two more dying later in hospital. More than a dozen were injured.
Karm Al-Louz, Homs city, 9 April 2014
43. Within a period of 20 minutes on 9 April 2014, two car bombs exploded in the Karm Al-Louz neighbourhood of Homs city. The neighbourhood is a middle-class residential area, populated mainly by Alawites. There were no soldiers based in the area nor were there any other military objectives.
44. The first car was parked near to a centre which distributed gas cylinders, which exploded along with the car on detonation. As paramedics, firefighters and civilians rushed to the scene of the bombing to assist the injured and douse the flames, a second car bomb exploded. The second car was parked on the road between the Al-Eiyadat Al-Shamila Hospital and the site of the first attack and appears to have deliberately targeted first responders carrying the injured to hospital. Jabhat al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for the double bombings.
Oshak street, Homs city, 14 April 2014
45. In the early afternoon of 14 April, a car bomb exploded in Oshak street in Homs city. The car had been parked in front of shops in a commercial area. There were no military checkpoints or installations in the area surrounding the explosion. The dead and injured were taken to the Al-Za’eem hospital. Six civilians were killed instantly. Scores more were injured.
Akrama, Homs city, 18 April 2014
46. On Friday 18 April 2014 a car bomb exploded near Bilal Al-Habashi Mosque, at the edge of Akrama neighbourhood. Friday prayers had just finished and the area was crowded as worshippers exited the mosque. The explosions did not target any military objectives. Fourteen civilians were killed instantly, including a 13-year-old boy.
Al-Abassiya, Homs city, 29 April 2014
47. Al-Abassiya neighbourhood in Homs city is a crowded lower-class neighbourhood, populated primarily by members of the Alawite community. The ground floors of buildings are filled with clothes and food shops, which residents live in apartments above. There was no military presence in the area affected by the bombing.
48. On 29 April, the neighbourhood was hit with a double car bombing. The first car bomb exploded at approximately 1pm. After the first explosion, concerned residents ran to the scene to assist the injured. Ten minutes later, another car, parked 30-40 metres away, exploded. The second explosion was far more powerful than the first and deliberately targeted people who had rushed to the area to assist victims of the first bombing. The second bombing also caused a large fire. The impact site was a scene of horror with bodies of those killed on fire or torn apart by shrapnel.
49. At least 45 people were killed instantly in the two bombings, many of them below the age of 18. Some victims were killed by shrapnel while others had burned to death. Scores more were injured. Many of the injured suffered severe burns and died later in hospital. Jabhat al-Nusra claimed responsibility for these attacks.
Al-Hiraqe village, eastern Homs countryside, 2 June 2014
50. Al-Hiraqe village is part of the district of Al-Mukharam city in the eastern Homs countryside. It is home to approximately 4,000 residents, mainly Alawites. A car bomb was detonated in the village at 1pm on 2 June, the day before Syria’s Presidential elections. The explosion killed at least 15 civilians, including women and children. Three of the children killed were under 6. One of the female casualties was 70 years old. There were no military targets in the area. Many of the bodies were dismembered by shrapnel. Jabhat al-Nusra has claimed responsibility for this attack.
Wadi el-Dahab Square, Homs city, 13 June 2014
51. Wadi el-Dahab is a residential middle-class neighbourhood in Homs city. There are no military targets present in it. On 13 June, an armed group exploded a car bomb in the main square, killing seven civilians.
Wadi el-Dahab Square, Homs city, 19 June 2014
52. On 19 June, an armed group exploded a car bomb on the main square of Wadi el-Dahab. Nineteen civilians were killed.
53. By late 2013, ISIS had taken over a former Ophthalmology Hospital in Qadi Askar neighbourhood of Aleppo city. It used the building as its headquarters and set up a makeshift detention centre in its basement. Previously the building had been held by the Islamic Front and contained its Sharia court. With ISIS refusing to accept the court’s authority, relations between the groups deteriorated. ISIS was abducting people who had been critical of it or who had worked with foreigners, such as journalists. In early January, fighting erupted between ISIS and Liwa al-Tawhid, eventually forcing ISIS to negotiate a withdrawal eastwards, out of the city. On Liwa al-Tawhid’s entering the premises, several dozen bodies were found. There were all men, bound and blindfolded, who had recently been shot at close range.
Ar- Raqqah city, Ar Raqqah, 29 April 2014
54. On 29 April, as detailed in paragraph 32 of the present report, ISIS publicly executed seven males, five of them under the age of 17 years in Ar Raqqah city.
Al-Talaliyah, Al-Hasakah, 29 May 2014
55. Al-Talaliyah is a Yazidi village in western Al-Hasakah governorate. When ISIS began to assert itself in the area, the village’s population fled. The village was occupied by Sunni Arabs, most of who had been displaced from Safira by Government bombardments. In late May, ISIS and the YPG, the Kurdish armed group, were engaged in violent clashes around Al-Talaliyah.
56. On 29 May, ISIS fighters entered the village. There they began to execute villagers, including women and young children, believing them to be Yazidis. According to survivors, the villagers, desperate to show that they were Muslims, began to recite the verses of the Quran. Bar one fighter from Iraq, none of the ISIS fighters spoke Arabic. The Iraqi fighter intervened, preventing further killings. Approximately 15 people were killed before the Iraqi fighter could translate to the other ISIS fighters that the residents were Sunni Arabs.
3. Unknown Perpetrators
57. In the incidents detailed below, while there are reasonable grounds to believe the killing occurred as described, it has not yet been possible to determine the identity of the perpetrators to the commission’s standard of proof.