Up to 13 civilians including between 1 and 5 children from two families died in Coalition airstrikes on Nzalat Shahada, according to local media. 11 of the victims were reportedly from the same family. A year later the US-led alliance accepted responsibility for the deaths.
According to the joint Amnesty/Airwars report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality” the incident contained three airstrikes, one striking a house and two others striking a car.
Al Araby reported “Coalition against Terrorism struck in the area of Nazlah Shehadeh and Saif al-Dawahah district in the south of the city of Al-Rigga in northern Syria. The sources said that among the dead were two families, including at least five children, and two women, while others were injured, as well as large destruction of buildings.”
Baladi, blaming the Coalition, put the death toll at eight, as did the Syrian Network for Human Rights.
Besides from the 11 family members, Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently reported the death of two additional victims, identified by their first names, one child and one adult man.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, raids by “warplanes” killed at least 11 civilians. It said,” they are 3 children (brothers) and 8 citizens of one family (and they are 3 brothers and one of them is with his son and another man with 2 of his children and a young boy)”.
The journalist, Mohab Naser, published a very graphic A’amaq video showing the aftermath of a strike with seriously injured victims, including children. We do not know whether the footage is of this specific strike. However, it says that there were several Coalition strikes on July 18th.
In June 2018, Amnesty International published a major report into this event and others during the battle for Raqqa. “On 18 July 2017, with the fighting intensifying in the area, the family took their chance to flee. The Badrans had access to two cars in which they made several frantic trips, moving the women and children first. During one of these journeys, one of the cars was struck, reportedly by an air strike, killing four male family members inside. At the same time another air strike destroyed the house where the men had been staying, just as they were waiting for a car to collect them. That strike killed five family members, along with two other men, relatives’ friends whose names the survivors did not know. Amnesty International visited the destroyed house and spoke to members of the extended family, who had witnessed the strike and later helped to recover the bodies from the rubble.”
While the US-led alliance initially attacked Amnesty’s report, it later conceded killing 11 civilians and injuring a 12th: “July 18, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Amnesty International report. During a strike on reported Daesh fighting positions near a residential area allegedly caused civilian casualties. One civilian was injured and 11 civilians were unintentionally killed.” The Coalition gave the coordinates of the event (within 100m) as 35°56.34936′, 038°59.86696′.
As the newest addition to the incident, the joint Amnesty/Airwars from April 2019 reported how different airstrikes had killed first “seven members of the Badran family”, hereof one child and six men, and two strikes had killed another “four members of the Badran family”, hereof two-three children and one-two women. The report identified nine out of the 11 victims by name.
In total, the report said that four airstrikes had killed a total of 39 family members and 10 neighbours “as they fled from neighbourhood to neighbourhood in search of safety.” Those remaining victims are, however, not included in this incident.
Amnesty’s researchers spoke to Hussein, a relative and witness, who told that “I visited them [the Badran family] that morning to ask if they needed anything. They were waiting for the car which had taken the women and children to come back to pick them up. I wished them a safe journey and left. Shortly after the house was bombed.”
Hussein added that “shortly after the house was bombed, a few streets away, we saw the car which had taken the women and children earlier on. It had been struck …and it was burning. The 4 men inside the car were killed” – a testimony which corresponds with Amnesty’s June 2018 research, also reporting about the death of four men in a car.
According to the Amnesty/Airwars research the coordinates of the house: 35.93988, 38.99818, while the coordinates of the street that also was struck were 35.939944, 38.998272.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (9)
- Khalid Ibrahim Al-Badran 52 years old male Ismael's and Shamsa's son killed
- Daham al Badran Ibn Ahmed 50 years old male Ismail Hawija’s son and brother of Mohammed Ahmed Badran Ibn Mohamed killed
- Mohammed Ahmed Badran Ibn Mohamed 40 years old male Ismail Hawija’s son and Shamsa’s husband killed
- Mustafa Mohammed Ahmed Badran 14 years old male Shamsa’s son killed
- Mohamed Hussein al Shammari 24 years old male Khud's son (also from Badran family) killed
- Hassan al-Dandoush Ibn Hsein Age unknown male son of Zarifa al Sahu (also from Badran family) killed
- Ismael al Said 55 years old male Sadeeqa’s husband injured
- Khaled Ibn Ismail Hweijah Al – Saeed 17 years old male injured
- Ibrahim al Said Ibn Ismael 15 years old male killed
- Shahad 28 years old female http://archive.is/iXXHZ killed
- Majid 6 years old http://archive.is/iXXHZ killed
Sources (13) [ 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, 2018
July 18, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Amnesty International report. During a strike on reported Daesh fighting positions near a residential area allegedly caused civilian casualties. One civilian was injured and 11 civilians were unintentionally killed.
Original strike reports
For July 18th-19th: “Near Raqqah, 12 strikes engaged 11 ISIS tactical units and destroyed nine fighting positions, two vehicles and a tactical vehicle.” It additionally reported that “On July 18, near Raqqah, Syria, 18 strikes engaged 12 ISIS tactical units; destroyed 18 fighting positions, an anti-aircraft artillery system, a weapons cache, and a sniper position; and damaged a fighting position and a supply route.”
For July 12th-18th, France report 11 strikes: 7 in Syria (6 in Raqqa) and 4 in Iraq. There were 26 artillery strikes in Mosul. Since September 19th 2014 France has carried out 1322 strikes, with 2090 targets destroyed and 6812 air sorties. Additionally, they’ve carried out 1310 artillery missions.
‘OPÉRATION CHAMMAL SITUATION En Syrie, Dans la ville de Raqqah désormais encerclée, Daech défend fermement les quartiers sous son contrôle en s’appuyant sur un usage intensif de pièges dont le terrain est littéralement saturé pour ralentir la progression des forces démocratiques syriennes (FDS). Cette stratégie impose aux FDS de déminer, pas à pas, chaque rue et chaque maison, sous la menace permanente de tireurs isolés entre autres tactiques adverses. Leur progression reste donc très lente. En Irak, Alors que les opérations de sécurisation de Mossoul se poursuivent, la principale zone de combat se situe désormais à l’Ouest de la ville dans le secteur de Tall Afar. Depuis cette localité, Daech mène des actions de harcèlement par des tirs directs et indirects contre les positions des Forces de Sécurité Irakiennes (FSI) à proximité. L’effort aérien de la coalition s’y porte donc tout en s’accompagnant d’un engagement plus large sur l’ensemble des autres territoires encore sous le contrôle de l’organisation terroriste. Daech poursuit notamment ses actions de harcèlement depuis la poche de Hawijah et dans l’Anbar, région dans laquelle elle dispose de nombreux camps et caches d’armes. ACTIVITÉS DE LA FORCE Cette semaine, les aéronefs ont réalisé 37 sorties aériennes dont 31 de reconnaissance armée et d’appui au sol (CAS), ainsi que 04 missions de recueil de renseignement et 02 de ravitaillement en vol après le déploiement récent d’un C135. La moitié des frappes françaises (6 sur les 11 frappes) a été réalisée dans le cadre de la bataille de Raqqah, les missions de reconnaissance française ou alliée permettant d’en réaliser autant sur le reste du théâtre afin de préparer les manœuvres futures ou de peser sur les réseaux terroristes. La Task Force (TF) Wagram a mené de son côté 26 missions de tir dont 17 de harcèlement et 09 d’éclairement. Le bilan global de CHAMMAL depuis le 19 septembre 2014 s’élève 1322 frappes, 2090 objectifs détruits et 6812 sorties aériennes réalisées. 1310 missions d’artillerie complètent cet engagement cinétique de la France au Levant.’