Russian jets purportedly target relatives of FSA-affiliated fighters on Jordan border

AMMAN: Five allegedly Russian planes carried out multiple strikes on a camp for the displaced near the Jordanian-Syrian border, hitting a section of the camp that houses relatives of the Free Syrian Army-affiliated Jaysh Usud a-Sharqia, a spokesman told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

"There were families members of Usud a-Sharqiya there,” said spokesman Younis Salama. “But does that justify them bombing the camp?"

Jaysh Usud a-Sharqiya primarily fights the Islamic State in Syria’s eastern desert region.

Last month, Russian aircraft reportedly targeted another FSA group, the New Syrian Army, in Deir e-Zor province. Moscow did not comment on either attack.

Tuesday’s air raids killed at least 17 people and injured 40, three camp residents told Syria Direct on Wednesday.

“I can’t even describe what happened at the moment of the strikes. People panicked. They had no idea what was going on,” Shahin al-Qarayatayn, a resident of the camp, known as al-Hadalat, told Syria Direct Wednesday.

The attacks, which occurred at around 3:00pm on Tuesday afternoon, set fire to dozens of tents and killed two children, five women and an elderly man. Gruesome videos of the immediate aftermath of the attack circulated online showing the bodies of several dead children and an elderly man.

 A photo of Tuesday’s strike on al-Hadalat camp from the Jordanian side of the border. Photo courtesy of Younis Salama.

Eyewitnesses in the camp, located 250km northeast of Amman, said they identified the planes as Russian based on their shape, flying altitude and method of attack.

If confirmed, Tuesday’s strikes will be the closest attacks conducted by Russian aircraft along the Jordanian border since the beginning of Moscow’s intervention in the Syria last September. 

Bahira al-Zarier

Bahira is from Damascus. She studied business and marketing before moving to Jordan in 2013. She did volunteer work in support of many refugee organizations before joining Syria Direct.

Orion Wilcox

Orion Wilcox was a 2014-2015 CASA fellow in Amman, Jordan where he interned with the UNRWA Jordan Field Office. He received his BA in Economics and Arabic language from the University of Mississippi. Following the CASA program, Orion worked as a freelance translator and interpreter in Amman.