A brief report on the aerial bombardment that was launched by war planes, likely affiliated to Syrian regular forces and their allies, on the civilians houses in the ISIS held Ganamat neighborhood in Deir Ezzor city on March 27th 2016,
Deir Ezzor city went through protests against Syrian authorities in early 2011. Few months later, these protests expanded where dozens of thousands of civilians materialized into streets and squares of the city demanding for overthrowing the Syrian president and its regime.
In August 2011, the Syrian army invaded the city and the rest of the province to quell the protests where hundreds of civilians were arrested. Following the withdrawal of the Syrian army from the city streets, the protests came back to the streets but at smaller level, as the protestors called them “Flash Protests”. As the security members killed a number of the civilians, protests increased and expanded.
Many armed groups were formed in Deir Ezzor with the aim of targeting the security headquarters and checkpoints of the Syrian government in retaliation for the arrest campaigns and killing civilians. The military operations of the armed opposition expanded to control on number of Deir Ezzor city neighborhoods in June. The regular forces re-invaded the city one more time and shelled the neighborhoods by different types of weapons, including air force.
As armed opposition groups expanded their control in the city neighborhoods, the regular forces war planes started targeting the neighborhoods constantly and indiscriminately.
Fights and extreme shelling forced thousands of civilians to flee the neighborhoods towards the countryside and other province. It also resulted in death of injury of hundreds and destruction of thousands of houses and buildings in the opposition held neighborhoods.
In July 2014, ISIS controlled the neighborhoods held by the Syrian opposition groups. It also controlled the areas out of the regular forces control.
In late 2017, the Syrian regular forces, with direct support of the Russian air force and foreign militias, were able to control the entire city of Deir Ezzor along with the cities and towns located in the south of Euphrates River.
It is located in the east part of Deir Ezzor city. It was exposed to large scale destruction due to attacks of the regular forces and their allies over six years.
War planes targeted the neighborhood on March 27th 2016 that resulted in death of seven civilians, including five women and a child, along with remarkable destruction in the neighborhood.
Justice for Life interviewed Mr. Abdullah Touma, whose mother, sisters, and brother were killed due to this attack. JFL also interviewed Mrs. Um Mahmoud, pseudonym, who was a witness. Both witnesses narrated their testimonies. JFL validated some photos with Mr. Abdullah.
I have seen nothing but rubble:
The witness Abdullah, who lost members of his family, says;
“On March 27th 2016, at 10:20 am, I was at my sister’s house with my mother, my brother, along with another woman and her child. We heard the sound of flying war plane, which was daily routine. The war plane dropped about twenty missiles”. He adds “one of the missile dropped on our house, in this moment I could not feel around, the day turned into pitch darkness and I saw the house destroyed”.
Abdullah was not able to see around due to the impact of the aerial bombing and the dust and rubble. Abdullah says “I saw my mother, brother, and sister dead. The child also died, where her mother was hardly breathing”.
The neighborhood residents gathered to hospitalize the injured. Abdullah did not believe that he was alive. He left the house asking for help.
Abdullah continues “On my way to the hospital, an ISIS vehicle came fast, we tried to avoid it, and we fell on the ground. We went to the hospital. When we arrived to the hospital, I could not feel around”.
Concerning the setbacks faced by Abdullah in the hospital, he said to JFL “My injury was in my arm. Doctors started a surgical operation. Despite being under sedation, I was hearing them speaking and saying that they cannot do the operation, and I should be moved to Al Mayadin city. I woke up, they were still working, they started taking to me and telling me that I have to relax”.
I was moved from Pharmex hospital in Deir Ezzor city in an ambulance towards Al Mayadin city. In that ambulance, the woman that was in my sister’s house was with us. She was still alive. I was injured in my whole body, but the most critical injury was in my right hand”.
Touman Khalidl A Touma, one of the shelling victims – The photo was validated by his brother Abdullah Al Touma
Aisha Abdulwahed Al Haj Kheder – one of the shelling victims and Abdullah’s mother – The photo was validated by Abdullah Al Touma
Um Mahmoud, pseudonym, is one of the neighborhood residents. Her house was located in the alley targeted by the war plane. She told JFL “I did not hear the war planes, but I heard the sound of something was getting closer to me quickly. Then, I discovered that there are many missile targeted houses in the alley. I could not see any more due to the dust. I went to see what is going on, I could see only rubble. One of ISIS members prevented me from getting closer. Other ISIS member asked me to give him blankets to hospitalize the injured”.
Two pictures for the house where the family of Abdullah was killed – The pictures were validated by Abdullah Al Touma
Um Mahmoud says “I saw three people passing away due to the shelling, who are Touma, whose injury was in the head and was not hospitalized, Ghazwa, Touma’s sister, and Aisha, their mother. Their heads were exploded. Bug number of civilians were injured. Many of them were hospitalized on motorcycles as the ambulance was not enough”.
Um Mahmoud continues “The aerial bombardment resulted in large-scale destruction as entire buildings and houses were destroyed. The bombing continued until evening on many neighborhoods. The alley residents gathered in the basement of our house fearing from the bombing. I had to go to one of our relatives’ house due to the continuity of bombing”.
Justice for Life organization documented the death of seven people;
- Aisha Abdulwahed Al Haj Al Kheder
- Ghazwa Khalid Touma
- Touma Khalid Touma
- Inas Abbas Alwan
- Hadeel Atalla Alwan
- Sabeeha Hazza
- Hala Mahmoud Hazza