Twelve civilians died and six more were wounded in Coalition air or artillery strikes on Raqqa, according to local media. The action was later confirmed to be a British airstrike.
In February 2019, the Coalition accepted responsibility for the event, noting: “Coalition aircraft engaged ISIS fighters utilizing a mortar system in a building used as a defensive fighting position. Regrettably, 12 civilians were unintentionally killed and six were unintentionally injured as a result of the blast.”
Multiple sources blamed Coalition air and/or artillery strikes for the death of ten civilians and injury of more. Raqqa Truth said that six were wounded in addition to ten killed.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, the Coalition struck the “Ferdus Furnace area and other areas in the city”. It put the death toll at 12.
Zakaria has been removed from this incident as the Amnesty and Airwars’s joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality” reported that he died on October 11th with his nephew while riding a motorbike.
The February 2019 assessment appears to be a reassessment of a March 2018 decision in which the Coalition originally confirmed one death – though we currently cannot be sure that this was referring to this incident.
The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.
In March 2020, Airwars and the BBC published an investigation revealing that the UK was refusing to accept responsibility for civilian harm in this and two other events – despite confirming that the RAF had conducted the strikes.
Senior MoD officials revealed that they were insisting upon ‘hard facts’ when determining casualties – an almost impossible bar to surmount, and at odds with the US-led Coalition’s own ‘balance of probabilities’ approach.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (25) [ collapse]
from sources (1) [ collapse]
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
August 13, 2017, near Raqqa, Syria, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft engaged ISIS fighters utilizing a mortar system in a building used as a defensive fighting position. Regrettably, 12 civilians were unintentionally killed and six were unintentionally injured as a result of the blast.
Aug. 13, 2017 near Raqqah, Syria via self-report. During a Coalition strike to engage an ISIS-controlled building a civilian entered the area of the strike and it was assessed that one civilian was unintentionally killed.
this may relate to an attack by RAF Typhoons against a mortar team in a building at the location given. It occurred during active fighting on the ground between Syrian Democratic Forces and Daesh extremists. A single individual was seen on weapons system video moving in the area just prior to the impact of one of our weapons. There is no evidence that this individual was a civilian, as opposed to one of the Daesh fighters engaged with the Iraqi security forces. We have certainly not seen any evidence that twelve civilian casualties were caused.
Original strike reports
For August 12th-13th the Coalition reported “Near Raqqah, 15 strikes engaged 14 ISIS tactical units and destroyed three command and control nodes, two ISIS headquarters, an ISIS UAS launch site and a vehicle.” It additionally reported that “On Aug. 12, near Raqqah, Syria, 21 strikes engaged 16 ISIS tactical units and destroyed a fighting position, an anti-aircraft artillery system, and a mortar system.” And that “On Aug. 12, near Raqqah, Syria, one strike destroyed an ISIS fighting position.”
For Aug 9-15th, France report 2 strikes in Raqqah, Syria – and 13 artillery missions in Mosul.
#Chammal : 2 frappes et 13 missions d’artillerie en Irak et en Syrie cette semaine.
In the past week, (11th-18th) France conducted 27 sorties, including 22 armed reconnaissance and ground support (CAS), 1 refueling outlet and 4 intelligence gathering sorties by Atlantic 2 or Rafale patrols. Two strikes were carried out in the Raqqah region of Syria. They helped support the Syrian democratic forces in their offensive to retake the city.
‘OPÉRATION CHAMMAL SITUATION En Syrie, A Raqqah, la progression des forces démocratiques syriennes se poursuit. Au sud de la ville, la manœuvre de tenaille, amorcée il y a 15 jours, s’est achevée en fin de semaine dernière. Elle a permis de réaliser la jonction des fronts est et ouest. Depuis, les forces démocratiques syriennes ont relancé une offensive vers le centre de la ville mais elles font face à une défense acharnée des combattants de Daech. En Irak, Les forces de sécurité irakiennes poursuivent leurs opérations dans l’objectif de libérer, à terme, le nord de l’Irak. Actuellement, elles focalisent leur effort sur l’encerclement de la ville de Tall Afar. Les combattants de l’organisation terroriste réalisent un travail de valorisation de leurs positions défensives pour se préparer aux combats à venir alors que les populations tentent de fuir la ville. ACTIVITÉS DE LA FORCE Les soldats de l’opération Chammal poursuive leur mission d’appui au profit des unités irakiennes engagées contre Daech. Cette semaine, sur le théâtre, les aéronefs ont réalisé 27 sorties aériennes dont 22 de reconnaissance armée et d’appui au sol (CAS), 1 sortie de ravitaillement ainsi que 4 sorties de recueil de renseignement par Atlantique 2 ou patrouille de Rafale. Deux frappes ont été conduites dans la région de Raqqah en Syrie. Elles ont permis d’appuyer les forces démocratiques syriennes dans leur offensive pour reprendre la ville. La Task Force (TF) Wagram a mené de son côté 13 missions de tir en appui de la 15e division à l’ouest de Mossoul vers Tal Afar. En particulier, les artilleurs ont fourni des feux de harcèlement et d’éclairement pour interdire aux combattants de Daech de mener des actions au sol ou de réaliser des tirs indirects contre les positions irakiennes. Le bilan global de l’activité aérienne depuis le 19 septembre 2014 s’élève 1330 frappes, 2102 objectifs détruits et 6946 sorties. ‘
‘Saturday 12 August – Typhoons destroyed a Daesh headquarters in Raqqa… Typhoons maintained a presence over Raqqa over the weekend, destroying a Daesh headquarters building on Saturday 12 August…’