Military Actions in Deir Ezzor Province Cause Unprecedented Displacement Influx
“Hundreds of civilians were killed by air strikes that were launched by Syrian government, Russia, and Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS”
The cities, towns, and villages of Deir Ezzor province undergo a series of fierce military actions, especially following the escalation of aerial bombardment and race to capture ISIS-held territory. Concurrently with the military actions that have been launched by Syrian government and Russia since August 2017, entire towns and villages in the south of Euphrates river became uninhabited and the destruction percentage of the houses and stores reached 40%, either partially or completely.
The death of more than 329 civilians was documented due to extensive air strikes on different areas of Deir Ezzor province since August 2017 until the end of September 2917, including 81 children and 59 women as the Syrian government and its ally, Russia, were the responsible for the majority of the killed civilians.
Deir Ezzor Military Council that works under the umbrella of Syria Democratic Forces (SDF) announced on September 9th, 2017 the battle of “Al Jazeera Storm” to capture the areas that are held by ISIS in the east of Euphrates River.
The undersigned organizations urge the US-led coalition and local factions on the ground that respecting the basic human rights must be on the top of their priorities scale, especially the war laws during military actions, take all necessary precautions to avoid death of civilians, and investigate in a transparent manner in raids and offensives where there were civilian casualties.
The attacking forces must ensure that no children participate in military actions for any purpose and ensure opening safe routes to facilitate the exit of civilians to camps where human dignity is respected and free movement of IDPs is guaranteed.
We are going to narrate a number of incidents where big number of civilians were killed as conflict parties failed to commit to war laws that impose differentiation between military targets and civilian ones and taking all necessary, possible, and effective actions to avoid death of civilians;
- On August 4th, 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the Syrian government and its ally Russia attacked Al Tibni town in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor and resulted in the death of at least seven civilians, including three children.
- On August 28th, 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the US-led coalition attacked “Al Hadeed Bridge” AKA “Al Baqa’an Bridge” that links Al Ramadi villages and Abo Hassan in the countryside of Al Boukmal, east of Deir Ezzor. This led to complete failure of the bridge.
- On August 31st, 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the Syrian government and its ally Russia attacked “Zghiar Shameyya” in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor and resulted in the death of at least seven civilians including , two women, and three children.
- On September 9th, 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the US-led coalition attacked an ISIS detention center in Al Boukmal city in the afternoon. These strikes led to the death of thirteen people, some of them were detainees and others who were present during the strike. Three air strikes on this location were documented.
- On September 10th 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the Syrian government and its ally Russia attacked the water crossing point that links Al Boulail town, in Muhassan district, with Al Sabha village, in Al Bsaira district in the north of Euphrates River. This attack resulted in the death of at least twenty-eight civilians including a displaced family from Al Shola village in the south of Deir Ezzor. More than fifteen air strikes on this location were documented during that afternoon.
- On September 11th, 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the Syrian government and its ally Russia attacked “Hawaej Theyab Shammeya” in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor and resulted in the death of eight civilians at least.
- On September 14th, 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the Syrian government and its ally Russia attacked the town of “ Bugrus Tahtani” at 12:00 and resulted in death of eight civilians including two children and one woman, bearing in mind that this village is located in the east of Deir Ezzor province.
- On September 12th, 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the Syrian government and its ally Russia attacked Al Shehabat village in the northern countryside of Deir Ezzor and resulted in the death of eight civilians, including four children and two women.
- September 13th, 2017, , warplanes that were reportedly of the Syrian government and its ally Russia launched air strikes on Mathloum village in Khsham sub-district that resulted in death of seven civilians at least .
- On September 14th, 2017, at 12:00, warplanes that were reportedly of the Syrian government and its ally Russia launched 15 air strikes on Al Mayadin city. The air strikes were launched on civilians’ houses and resulted in the death of seven civilians including two children.
- Nine children killed on September 14th, 2017 due to the aerial bombardment that was reportedly launched by the Syrian government and its ally Russia on Khsham town in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor.
- On September 17th, 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the US-led coalition attacked the industrial zone in Al Boukmal city and resulted in the death of ten civilians including six children and three women.
- On September 30th, 2017, warplanes that were reportedly of the Syrian government and its ally Russia attacked Bugrus Foqani village in the countryside of Al Mayadin with seven air strikes on the civilians’ houses and resulted in the death of eight civilians including three children and one woman.
Landmines Lurk Those Who Flee
The civilians who flee the hell of military actions in Deir Ezzor suffer from the landmines that are planted in their survival route. On August 3rd, 2017, three civilians killed by a landmine that exploded under a van that was used to transport IDPs from Deir Ezzor to Al Hasaka. On August 30th, 2017, seven civilians at least were killed by a landmine in Abo Khashab crossing road, which is the line between SDF and ISIS territory. The victims were from Al Boukmal city.
Targeting Temporary Camps of the IDPs
On September 11th, 2017, six civilians were killed including a child and three women by two air strikes that were likely launched by the Syrian government and its ally Russia on IDPs camp on the bank of Euphrates River in Al Khraita town, in the western countryside of Deir Ezzor.
Recommendations Concerning Deir Ezzor
- To all conflict parties;
- To ensure the safety of displacement destinations including temporary and permanent camps, shelter locations such as schools and hospitals, and to guarantee that these locations are not hit through military actions.
- To ensure safe routes for civilians who flee the hell of military actions, to prepare temporary camps that are supervised by specialized international organizations to deal with emergency humanitarian cases and to provide IDPs with the minimum level of living needs.
- To exert real and effective efforts to avoid shelling civilian locations in Deir Ezzor province.
- To avoid shelling the river crossing points that are used by those who flee the targeted areas.
- To the Self-rule Authorities;
- To ensure the freedom of movement of IDPs, especially in cases of receiving medical treatment and to allow international observers to participate in supervision on movement and receiving treatment.
- To enhance the level of services and humanitarian aid in the existing camps in SDF held areas and to work on constructing new camps to host those who fled the recent military actions in Deir Ezzor.
- To US-led Coalition and Syria Democratic Forces;
- To exert real and effective efforts to clean the liberated areas from all sorts of landmines and IEDs and to make use of previous experiences such as Manbij and Al-Bab.
- To double-check the detention process to avoid any type of arbitrary arrests against civilians.
- To the International Community
To ensure safety and security of those who flee the conflict areas when they back to their homes, to ensure their safety from arresting, killing, or any type of violations by the controlling factions, and to release all detainees who were arrested arbitrarily and to reveal the destiny of the forcibly disappeared.
- To the International and Humanitarian Organizations;
- To work urgently on constructing camps to host those who flee Deir Ezzor province, and to provide those camps with the requirements to live in dignity.
- To work urgently on sending food and medical aid to the areas where no military actions are taking place anymore.
The Undersigned Organizations:
- Justice For Life-JFL
- Syrians fro Truth and Justice – STJ
- Syrian Archive
- Syria Justice and Accountability Center (SJAC)
- Baytna Syria
- Urnammu for justice and human rights
- Syrian Network for Human Rights
- Syrian Women’s Network
- Association of Detainees and The Missing in Sednaya Prison
- The Day After
- Mouwatana for Civil Action
- Syrian center for media and freedom of expression
- Women Now for Development
- Syrian Center for Legal Studies and Researches
- The Syrian League for Citizenship