In the Amnesty and Airwars’s joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality”, four civilians were reportedly killed in alleged Coalition airstrikes in Raqqa. Although Airwars assesses single sourced incidents as “weak”, researchers have assessed this incident “fair” due to the depth of material provided by Amnesty.
The report stated that “Dhiab al-Rusly and his two sons aged nine and 11 and his elderly father, were killed when their home was hit by an air strike.”
A neighbour and eye witness, Khalil, told Amnesty in a testimony that “They were good people, there was no reason to kill them. It must have been a mistake.”
No precise building was identified for the site of the strike.
In July 2019 the Coalition announced that it had assessed this allegation of civilian harm to be non-credible, noting: “After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (4)
- Dhiab al-Rusly 45 years old male killed
- Muayad 9 years old male son of Dhiab killed
- Iyad 11 years old male son of Dhiab killed
- Riadh al-Talfah 66 years old male father of Dhiab's wife killed
Sources (1) [ collapse]
Attached to this civilian harm incident is the Pentagon's declassified assessment of this civilian harm allegation, obtained by Azmat Khan and the New York Times through Freedom of Information requests and lawsuits filed since March 2017, alongside the corresponding press release published by the Pentagon. Airwars is currently analysing the contents of each file, and will update our own assessments accordingly.
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Jul 26, 2019
Jun. 20, 2017, in Raqqa, Syria, via Amnesty International report. After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.
Original strike reports
Near Raqqah, 12 strikes engaged 10 ISIS tactical units; and destroyed six fighting positons,
three vehicles, three tactical vehicles, two mortar teams, a command and control node and a