Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS112

Incident date

August 13, 2015

Location

الرقة‎, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.96169, 39.02662 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

Two or more US targeted airstrikes aimed at killing 21-year old British cyber terrorist Junaid Hussain instead resulted in the deaths of 3 civilians and the injuring of at least 5 more, a US investigation later concluded.

“On Aug. 13, 2015, near Ar Raqqah, Syria, during strikes against Junaid Hussain, an ISIL cyber-operative, it was assessed three civilians in the vicinity of the strikes were killed and five more were injured,” a press statement noted.

A CENTCOM spokesman later told Airwars that the attack on Hussain had only “resulted in injuries to him that were not fatal.” The botched intelligence-led mission had instead led to significant civilian casualties, a fact which took more than five months to emerge.

The British terrorist actually died in an August 24th airstrike in Syria, as Prime Minister David Cameron told MPs: “The US administration has confirmed that Junaid Hussain was killed in an American airstrike on 24 August in Raqqah.”

Cameron also described Hussain as “involved in actively recruiting ISIL sympathisers and seeking to orchestrate specific and barbaric attacks against the West, including directing a number of planned terrorist attacks right here in Britain.”

No local monitors appear to have tracked any civilian casualties at the time of the August 13th strikes, suggesting the US identified casualties from post-strike surveillance.

In July 2019, the Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • British cyber terrorist Junaid Hussain. His killing by the US also caused the deaths of at least three civilians in Raqaa on August 13th (image via ISIS propaganda)

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest city at 35.9505639, 39.0094148

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
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    3
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    5
  • Stated location
    near Raqqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV024797
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jan 29, 2016
  • On Aug. 13, 2015, near Ar Raqqah, Syria, during strikes against Junaid Hussain, an ISIL cyber-operative, it was assessed three civilians in the vicinity of the strikes were killed and five more were injured.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Near Ar Raqqah, two airstrikes struck two ISIL tactical units.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • Civilians reported injured
    5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition