The centre for the 403 Civil Defence is located south of Khan Shaykhun city in southern rural Idlib province, to the west of Autostrade Damascus- Aleppo International, and belongs to the Civil Defence Centre in Idlib province.
At 2am on Friday the 22nd of September 2017, warplanes thought to be Russian carried out five air raids, dropping high-explosive Thermobaric rockets on the gate of civil defence centre which is located inside an underground cave in Khan Shaykhun city. This resulted in the destruction of the centre, almost entirely, and putting it out of service. Additionally, major material damage was caused to the equipment inside the centre, putting them out of service.
The bombing also caused major material damage to two ambulances and a rescue car belonging to the centre, and put them all out of service.
It is noteworthy that on the 19th of September the centre had been subject to bombing by warplanes thought to be Russian, which resulted in the destruction of an ambulance and an evacuation vehicle belonging to it.
Moreover, on the afternoon of the 21st of September, the centre was subjected to air strikes by Syrian regime warplanes causing negligible damage.
Prior to this, over the past two years the centre has been subjected to seven targeting operations which are as follows:
On the 4th of April 2017 the centre was subjected to an airstrike by a warplane thought to be Russian, causing major material damage.
On the 16th of April 2017 a warplane thought to be Russian carried out an air raid on the centre, causing negligible damage.
On the 3rd of January 2017, Syrian regime helicopters dropped an explosive barrel near the centre, causing minor material damage.
On the 20th of November 2016, the regimes warplanes fired a rocket in the vicinity of the centre, causing minor material damage to two of its ambulances.
On the 4th of September 2016, a warplane thought to be Russian fired a rocket onto the centre, causing minor material damage.
On the 24th of July 2015, a helicopter dropped explosive barrels near the centre, causing moderate material damage to the centre and one of the centre’s ambulances.
On the 14th of May 2015, a helicopter dropped explosive barrels on the centre, wounding five members and causing moderate material damage to the centre and some of its instruments.
The Testimony of Anas Diyab, member of the Civil Defence Centre in Khan Shaykhun
Russian warplanes deliberately obstruct our work as a voluntary civil defence team to continuously save lives, particularly since it’s last campaign upon rural Idlib and rural Hama.
As for targeting our centre, Russian warplanes and regime warplanes targeted the centre on 19/09 then on 21/09. On 22/09, the centre was subjected to raids at around 2am. The rockets were high-explosive and I think everyone in the city was awakened by the sound of their explosion.
The raids completely destroyed the centre and the instruments within it or near it including two ambulances, an evacuation vehicle and some motorbikes, as the rockets were dropped directly in front of it.
However, it’s good that none of us were harmed, despite the fact that most of the team was there, but they were taken out from under the rubble which they stayed beneath for over an hour.