As many as 15 civilians including at least three children reportedly died in Coalition airstrikes in support of a major Kurdish ground offensive against Daesh near Manbij.
Citing the Syrian Observatory, Reuters noted that “U.S.-led air strikes in support of the ground operation [reportedly] killed 15 civilians including three children near Manbij in the past 24 hours.” SOHR said the dead came from two families.
According to the Local Civil Defence of Syria, “International Coalition warplanes targeted and destroyed the bridge of Aon Dadat village that connects between the cities of Jarablus and Manbej. The planes also targeted Hawatma village in Manbej city and 6 people from the same family were martyred.”
The Syrian Network also said that al-Hawatmah was hit, reporting that “Fixed-wing international coalition forces warplanes fired a missile that targeted residential houses in Al Hwatma neighborhood, which resulted in the killing of three individuals including a female child. Additionally, three others were wounded. Manbej city was under the control of ISIS on the day of the incident and it is now held by the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces.
The Coalition claimed to be unaware of civilian casualty allegations when approached by the Independent. A spokesperson told the paper: “We will review any information we have about the incident, including information provided by third parties, such as the proximity of the location to CJTF air strikes, and any other relevant information presented,” a spokesperson for Operation Inherent Resolve said. If the information supporting the allegation is determined to be credible, we will then determine the next appropriate step.”
In a later report, the Syrian Network noted: “International coalition forces launched a number of airstrikes on Manbij city and its suburbs to assist Syrian Democratic Forces as it advanced against ISIS. Some of these strikes didn’t distinguish between civilians and fighters, while other airstrike didn’t respect the principle of proportionality.The international coalition airstrikes resulted in the killing [in total] of 38 civilians including 16 children and six women.”
On July 7th, 2017 the Coalition admitted responsibility for the incident, reporting: “May 31, 2016, near Manbij, Syria, via Airwars report: During a strike on an ISIS headquarters, it was assessed that eight civilians, who were not observed near the target during the engagement, were unintentionally killed.”
In July 2019, the Coalition provided Airwars with the location for this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (3)
Sources (16) [ collapse]
from sources (1) [ collapse]
Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest town at 36.5269242, 37.9559288
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Jul 7, 2017
May 31, 2016, near Manbij, Syria, via Airwars report: During a strike on an ISIS headquarters, it was assessed that eight civilians, who were not observed near the target during the engagement, were unintentionally killed.
Original strike reports
The Coalition reports for May 31st-June 1st 2016 that “Near Manbij, 18 strikes struck six separate ISIL tactical units, two ISIL headquarters, two ISIL logistics facilities, an ISIL assembly area, an ISIL weapons cache, and an ISIL training base and destroyed eight ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL headquarters, two ISIL vehicles, two ISIL mortar systems, an ISIL cave entrance, two ISIL communication towers, an ISIL artillery system, an ISIL ammunition storage facility, and six ISIL-used bridges and denied ISIL access to terrain.”