Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS089

Incident date

July 4, 2015

Location

الرقة‎, Car opposite Al Hameeda School, Al Jumaili, Raqqah, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.9557396, 39.0015453 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

In some of the heaviest coalition bombing reported for Syria to that time, US aircraft struck multiple Daesh targets in the strategic city of Raqaa – the beginning of a lengthy air campaign in which numerous civilians are now confirmed to have died.

Between 7 and 8 civilians were reported as being among the 23 dead in this first incident which occurred at around 4pm. CENTCOM conceded six months later that it had ‘likely’ killed three unnamed civilians in the incident.

“The significant airstrikes tonight were executed to deny Daesh the ability to move military capabilities throughout Syria and into Iraq,” US Lt Colonel Thomas Gilleran had told reporters at the time. “This was one of the largest deliberate engagements we have conducted to date in Syria, and it will have debilitating effects on Daesh’s ability to move from ar-Raqqah.”

However the Syrian Observatory reported that seven civilians died in one attack “by a drone” near Al Hameeda school, including a man and his son Fouad. Raqaa is Being Slaughtered Silently (RBSS) eventually placed the non-combatant death toll at eight, describing the slain boy as 10 years old. A 15 year old boy named as Mohammad Hammad Al A’akassi later died of his injuries.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently described the target of the Coalition strike as a vehicle, and said that the civilians killed had died as a result of shrapnel injuries.

Buzzfeed also spoke with two eyewitnesses to the event, with one noting: “They hit the target. But the people around the target were affected. I saw the kid laying on the sidewalk, and I felt I couldn’t walk.” According to the news site, ISIL militants carried away the remains of at least two of their comrades, leaving the dead civilians on the street.

On January 15th 2016, CENTCOM conceded that civilians had likely died in this attack on a High Value Target: “On July 4, 2015, near Ar Raqqah, Syria, during a strike against an ISIL High Value Individual, a car and a motorcycle entered the target area after the weapon was released. It is assessed three unidentified civilians were likely killed.“

In July 2019, the Coalition provided coordinates for the confirmed event to within 100 metres. Airwars geolocators had already previously identified the site of the attack.

The incident occured at approximately 4:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7 – 8
  • (3 children4–5 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    24
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (31) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (15) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Doctors operate on a civilian reportedly injured in a US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Child victim of alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victim of alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Charred body of victim of alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    An elderly civilian male, reportedly a victim of a US airstrike on Raqaa, Syria July 4 2015 (still from Al A'maq video]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A young surivor of a US airstrike which killed seven civilians receives medical attention, July 4 2015 (still from Al A'maq video)
  • Injured victim of alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • Car on the scene of the alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • Injured victim of alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (still from Al'Amaq video]
  • Mohammed al Sheikh, killed in a reported coalition airstrike on Raqaa July 4 2015 [Via: RBSS on 6th July 2015]
  • The street, scene of the alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (Via: Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently]
  • The alleged US air raid on Raqaa July 4th (Via: Raqqa is (Via: Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently]

Geolocation notes

The MGRS that the Coalition provided at 100m accuracy placed this incident at 35.95538, 39.00222

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    Entered target area just prior to or after munition released
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    3
  • Stated location
    near Raqqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV002790
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jan 15, 2016
  • On July 4, 2015, near Ar Raqqah, Syria, during a strike against an ISIL High Value Individual, a car and a motorcycle entered the target area after the weapon was released. It is assessed three unidentified civilians were likely killed.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The coalition has confirmed carrying out eighteen airstrikes in the vicinity on July 4th-5th 2015: “Near Ar Raqqah, 18 airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroying three ISIL vehicles and 16 ISIL bridges.“

Summary

  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7 – 8
  • (3 children4–5 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    24
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (31) [ collapse]