In the Amnesty and Airwars’ joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality”, 11 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 by Amnesty/Airwars stated that “A coalition airstrike killed seven members of the Hayoun family – four children, a woman and two men – in their sleep as they were sheltering in a four storey building.”
According to the field notes, the airstrike struck the house next door to the Hayoun family, however the house they were sheltering in was damaged, and seven family members were killed. They were on the ground flour. The house targeted was empty at the time of the raid.
The interviewee, was father of a victim and the restaurant owners brother, told Amnesty in a testimony that “This strike killed my daughter, her children, her husband and his brother. They were innocent civilians. Many innocent people were killed in this war.”
In July 2019, the Coalition announced that it had assessed this allegation of civilian harm to be non-credible. Their civilian casualty report noted: “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 incident occured during the night.
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
Jul. 5, 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, 21 strikes engaged 15 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 13 fighting positons,
two vehicles, two heavy machine guns, a front-end loader, a UAV site and a sniper position.