Up to seventy people were killed and dozens injured in a suicide car bombing during rush hour in front of the “Central Courthouse” in the Azaz district, located in the northern countryside of Aleppo, on Saturday 7, January 2017 at about 11:30 am. The suspected vehicle as a “Hyundai truck”. Video footage posted on the internet by activists showed the immediate moments after the blast and the search and rescue attempts made to find and aid the wounded.
Ahmad Nahl, an activist from Azaz, told Syrians for Truth and Justice that an “Inter,” a huge vehicle loaded with barrels of diesel fuel, coming from the ISIS (Daesh) controlled areas, exploded in the center of the city after passing through many checkpoints operated by factions who control the city, particularly the “Jabhat al-Shamiya” faction.
“The city’s population is normally about 100,000, but after the waves of displacement due to military operations, bombardment, and the evacuation process of Aleppo, the population is greater than 250,000. The nature of the dense population in this targeted area led to great number of victims being killed and wounded. The blast also caused great devastation to buildings that surround the area, like the central courthouse, the Red Crescent facility, the post office, and the local council, let alone dozens of shops”.
The armed opposition pointed directly to the Islamic State/ISIS (also known as Daesh). “Abo Omar al-Azizi” affiliated with the Jabhat al-Shamiya Front/ the Free Syrian Army, also stated to Syrians for Truth and Justice that the truck entered from ISIS-controlled areas. He added:
“It is well known that most fuels enter the city from ISIS-controlled oil wells. The suicide bombers made use of this and put explosives inside the fuel barrels which were loaded on a huge vehicle, an “Inter,” causing dozens of deaths and great devastation”.
Mr. Ismael Ma’mi, head of the Ambulance System and the “Documenting and Statistics Department” in Azaz, said in his testimony to Syrians for Truth and Justice:
“Unfortunately there are no accurate statistics given the atrocious nature of this disaster which caused a number of injuries, the numbers of which are changing based on the status of the seriously wounded, as well as the number of missing, who are more than eleven at this moment. As a civil defense staff and an ambulance and rescue system, we have lost a rescuer in the disaster and found only his scattered body parts. Inconclusively we could document some statistics; victims reached 50 individuals, the injuries referred to Turkey for medical aid were about 75 people, all of whom were in critical condition, whereas the injuries who were treated inside Syria were about 80 people, many of whom were in somewhat stable condition”.
Elsewhere, the media activist Majd al-Halab stated:
“A great number who were also killed in the bombing are Iraqi Turkmens from Tal-Afar, estimated to be about 40 Iraqis who had been displaced from ISIS-controlled al-Bab city to areas held by Syrian armed opposition. This explains the large number of unidentified people. Al-Halabi denied any military zones existed in the targeted areas. It only had the central courthouse (specialized to Azaz city and its outskirts). In addition, the site is considered to be a popular market”.
“The vehicle was loaded with barrels of diesel fuel. Specialists from the city said the explosives were C4, known to be high explosives and that killed up to 63 people mostly civilians, in addition to dozens of injured in critical condition. Several mutilated and unidentified bodies were buried. The names of 90 wounded were documented. The current population in the city is high, approximately half a million”.
A lawyer from the city, a human rights activist (who refused to provide his name for publication for security reasons) stated to Syrians for Truth and Justice:
“The bomb-laden vehicle entered from the west side of the central court ‘Dawar as-Srafah” and headed towards the court after it hit a checkpoint, then as it passed, the suicide bomber blew himself up along with the car. Most victims were civilians standing in front of the court in addition to three members of the court. Their names are:
1. Yousef Hassan, lawyer and the judge of the criminal court.
2. Osama al-Jasim, the clerk of the criminal court.
3. Mohamed as-Sa’di, lawyer
In addition to the security elements who protected the court. The accurate number of the death tolls is difficult because of the atrocity of the attack. Lots of the dead were were turned into scattered body parts. In addition, there were displaced people, either Syrian or Iraqis. It is so difficult to count the dead or identify them. However, there are up to 70 deaths up to now (January 12, 2017) and dozens of wounded”.
An image illustrates the impact site, the central courthouse and the road the bomb-laden vehicle came from
“Azaz Media Center” had released a list of the casualties’ names. Syrians for Truth and Justice then cooperated with eyewitnesses to document the names on the list:
1-Haitham Taljini- Azaz
2-Yousef Jouma’a Habto- Azaz
3-Hussein Hanzal- Azaz
4-Nadim Dadikhi- Azaz
5-Ibrahim Janjn- Azaz
6-Hussein Ali Awnya- Azaz
7-Hamdi Hassan Alo- Nyarah
8-Amer Mahmoud Nayf- Azaz
9-Hassan Karo- Mengh
10-Mohamed Karo- Mengh
11-Mohamed Abd as-Salam as-Sa’di- Tal Raf’t
12- Ismaeil Omar Oso-Tal Raf’t
13-Osama al-Jasim- Manbij
14- Aboud al-Husein- as-Safira
15- Abdallah Shlash- as-Safira
16- Yousef Mohamed al-Omar- al-Marjeh in Aleppo
17- Sabah Fadel Younes- Iraq
18- Ahmad Jihad Alwi- Azaz
19- Hussein Ali Fyad- Nyarah
20- Ghazi Mohamed Hamada- Azaz
21- Ali Mardini- Azaz
22- Omar Jablawi- Azaz
23- Mohamed Dibo Hamada- Azaz
24- Mostafa Mousa- Maryamin
25- Ahmad Rajab al-Issa- Shwargha
26- Yousef Hassan- Mare’ (his name was incorrectly stated in another source as Yousef Abas)
27- Yousef Mada’on- Mari’
28- Abdljabar Hayk, 11-years-old from Hayan
29- Abdulkader Ka’ka- Aleppo
30- Mohamed Hussein Na’san, 15, from Aleppo
31-Khalil Hussein Na’san, 13, from Aleppo
32- Tawfiq al-Hout- Aleppo
33- Mohamed as-Sa’di
34- Mohamed Sa’id
35- Basil Souleiman
36- Mohamed Taha Ba’aj- Azaz