Six people; two women, two children and two men were killed when the building they were sheltering in was hit in an airstrike in Al Toubb al Hadith, Raqqa, a joint Amnesty International/Airwars report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality” found after conducting field research on the ground. Additionally, several local sources echoed the death of one of the six victims, namely Mohammed Ahmed Abdel-Rahim al Shalash.
Besides from Mohammed, only one of the other fatalities was identified by name. However, according to Amnesty and Airwars’ research, who talked to a relative of the victims named Jamal, the remaining four victims were two women, one female child and one male child.
According to Al Hassaka Rasd, “The young man Mohammed Ahmed Abdel-Rahim was killed in artillery shelling on the Modern Medicine area. He was buried in the courtyard of his house as it was not possible to bury him in the cemetery”.
Airwars understands that only the Coalition has access to artillery in Raqqa.
In its February 2019 report, the Coalition noted: “Coalition aircraft conducted two airstrikes and one artillery strike. The airstrikes targeted one ISIS weapons cache and one ISIS command and control facility. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed in each of these strikes. On the same day, the Coalition conducted one artillery strike on ISIS defensive fighting positions. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed as a result of this strike. Regrettably, these three strikes resulted in the unintentional death of three total civilians. ”
In a later conversation with Airwars, the Coalition noted that this incident was most likely one of the airstrikes that they conducted on this day as it was in a similar location to one included in the above February report – not artillery as the allegation suggests. The other air and artillery strikes that they included in the report had not been previously flagged to the Coalition and were found while assessing this Airwars allegation – they are listed below as CS1317a and CS1317b.
Finally, it should be noted that Amnesty and Airwars’ research was only able to locate the incident somewhere between July 25th and August 24th. But given the local sources’ reports from August 2nd, the incident is assessed to have taken place on that particular day.
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.
The victims were named as:
Sources (6) [ collapse]
from sources (1) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the district of Al Toubb al Hadith (منطقة الطب الحديث), also known as the Modern Medicine District, in the city of Raqqa (الرقة), for which the coordinates are: 35.956488, 39.001173. Satellite imagery shows multiple strikes in the area between August 1 and 7, but no one incident could be isolated. Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest neighbourhood/area at 35.9525, 39.002222
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Feb 28, 2019
August 2, 2017, near Raqqa, Syria, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft conduced two airstrikes and one artillery strike. The airstrikes targeted one ISIS weapons cache and one ISIS command and control facility. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed in each of these strikes. On the same day the Coalition conducted one artillery strike on ISIS defensive fighting positions. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed as a result of this strike. Regrettably, these three strikes resulted in the unintentional death of three total civilians.
Original strike reports
For August 2nd-3rd: “Near Raqqah, 14 strikes engaged 10 ISIS tactical units and destroyed nine fighting positions, two vehicles, a supply cache, a VBIED, a mortar position, an ISIS UAS site, and a generator.” It additionally reported that “On Aug. 2, near Raqqah, Syria, 20 strikes engaged 11 ISIS tactical units and destroyed six fighting positions, two supply caches, a tactical vehicle, a tunnel, a VBIED factory, and a command and control node.”
‘Wednesday 2 August – Typhoons destroyed a Daesh strongpoint in Raqqa…Typhoons provided further close air support to the SDF on Wednesday 2 August; they found themselves coming under sustained heavy machine-gun and sniper fire from a building in Raqqa, but were able to pinpoint the Daesh position, allowing our aircraft to attack with a Paveway IV.’