A family of 15, including eight children and three women, died in an alleged Coalition airstrike on their home in Raqqa, according to local sources. Reports – all of which pointed towards the US-led Coalition – named the victims as the Al-Zanna family. According to SHRC, they were displaced from the city of Tadef in the Aleppo countryside.There was some confusion as to the exact location of the family’s home which was reportedly struck. Qasioun and Oman Daily said that it was in Al Mansour Street; Gate ahram and @7UFCmSxd0IUBffH reported that it was in Al Shammas square, in the center of Raqqa; while according to Smart and Almodon, it was near the museum (Al Muthaf). Sources said that other civilians were wounded in the strike and were likely still trapped under the rubble.
During investigations of this event for the April 2019 joint Airwars and Amnesty report War in Raqqa: Rethoric versus Reality (www.raqqa.amnesty.org), Amnesty field researchers established the location as Shammas Square. However, hours earlier another Coalition airstrike had killed nine members of the same family who were sheltering in a basement two streets away, near the museum (Al Muthaf), which is likely where the confusion in the reporting stems from. The report on the strike near the museum can be found here: CS1268b. The strike at Shammas Square killed 15 members of the Al-Zanna family, who were sheltering on the ground floor of a four-storey building. Amnesty researchers spoke to a relative of the family, Abdellatif: “The family had tried to leave Raqqa but Daesh (IS) prevented them, and Daesh also kicked them out of home near the old mosque. So, they took shelter in whatever place they thought they would be safe.” 1-3 Unnamed people were also injured in the strike.
Amnesty field researchers found the date of the strike to be July 22, 2017, rather than on July 28, as Airwars had previously reported.
In July 2019 the Coalition announced that it had classed this allegation of civilian harm to be non-credible. Their monthly 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 local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (38) [ 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. 22, 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
For July 28th-29th: “Near Raqqah, 12 strikes engaged 10 ISIS tactical units; destroyed eight fighting positions, an artillery system, and a vehicle; and suppressed a fighting position.” It additionally reported that “On July 28, near Raqqah, Syria, 16 strikes engaged 12 ISIS tactical units, destroyed an anti-air artillery system, and damaged seven fighting positions.”
‘Friday 28 July – a Tornado and Typhoon pair struck a Daesh position in Raqqa…Another mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair assisted the SDF in Raqqa on Friday 28 July, and a Paveway IV was used to destroy a terrorist position.’