A family of five or six, including three or four children, were killed following Coalition airstrikes on Al Hossain in Deir Ezzor, local sources reported. The event was later reported to be likely either a French or Belgian airstrike – though the United States subsequently accepted blame.
The Syrian Network initially put the death toll at six while claiming the event happened a day earlier: “Six civilians from the same family including 4 children and a woman, IDPs from Deir Ez-Zour, killed in International Coalition warplanes missiles fired on al Hussain village in Deir Ez-Zour governorate eastern suburbs, June 30, 2017.”
Thirteen sources alleged that the Coalition was responsible, whereas the remainder did not apportion blame.
In April 2019, the Coalition accepted responsibility for this event, noting: “Coalition aircraft conducted a strike on a Daesh command structure. Regrettably, five civilians were unintentionally killed due to the proximity of the strike locations.” The Coalition provided Airwars with coordinates for this event accurate to within a 100 metre box.
The following month, in its annual civilian harm report to Congress, the Pentagon excluded this event and thirteen others for 2017 and 2018, with two senior officials with close knowledge of the report confirming to Airwars that all non-US actions had been left out.
In March 2020, Airwars, Liberation and De Morgen published a joint investigation revealing that Belgium and France were refusing to accept responsibility for civilian harm in several events, most likely including this incident – despite all other allies ruling themselves out.
Asked to say whether its aircraft were responsible for officially declared civilian harm in up to nine incidents, the Belgian Ministry of Defence told Airwars by email: “For the year 2017, BAF [Belgian Armed Forces] was certainly not involved in all events. With regard to the other data given, BAF was no longer present in theatre. BAF completed its role at the end of 2017. Our conclusion is that all ROEs [rules of engagement] were respected as confirmed by our federal court.”
After confirming receipt from Airwars in June 2019 of details of possible French civilian casualty events, the defence ministry then ceased communication – refusing to answer all subsequent emails.
In May 2020, in its third annual civilian harm report to Congress, the Pentagon now appeared to be confirming that its forces had carried out this action.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (27) [ collapse]
Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 35.961944, 39.767222
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Apr 25, 2019
July 1, 2017, near Hossain, Dier ez Zor, Syria, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft conducted a strike on a Daesh command structure. Regrettably, five civilians were unintentionally killed due to the proximity of the strike locations.
Original strike reports
For June 30th-July 1st, the Coalition reported: ” Near Dayr Az Zawr, four strikes destroyed six ISIS oil tanks, three well heads and two oil trucks.” It additionally reported that “On June 30, near Dayr Az Zawr, Syria, three strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units and destroyed four ISIS-held buildings, two command and control nodes and three oil stills.”
For July 1st-2nd: “Near Dayr Az Zawr, two strikes destroyed 20 ISIS oil storage barrels and six oil tankers.”