Up to 30 civilians including women and children died and dozens more were wounded in a Coalition airstrike on the area west of Al-Mu’taz Street in Raqqa, according to local media. The Coalition later confirmed having unintentionally injured two civilians in this strike.
All sources attributed the event to the US-led Coalition, with a number reporting that an apartment building was struck after “Maghrib prayers”, according to the Euphrates Post.
Multiple members of four families were reportedly killed, with Step News and other sources saying that 25 people from one family died. Death counts varied. Sound and Picture put the toll at 17, while Elwehda said that 11 children and five women were among those killed. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that there had been up to 13 child victims among the 25 who died.
Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently put the total number dead at around 30. According to Euphrates Post, the strike “targeted a building behind Abu Hussein Sironx where there were 30 people from four families, two of whom were taken out. The rest remained under the rubble.”
In the Amnesty and Airwars’s joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality”, Amnesty stated that “Eleven members of the Al-Rahil family – five women, three children and three men, were killed when the home they were sheltering in was destroyed in a coalition air strike. Another female relative was killed in in a neighbouring house.”Kraiem, a survivor of the strike gave a testimony to Amnesty stating that “After the strike I was looking for my son in the dark. I pulled a survivor out the rubble, it was Yassir, Khaled’s son. Then I found the body of my little boy. One of the women had been cut in half. Aydan was headless.”
Field notes of the investigation mention that “the house that was hit is known as Beit al Shamas – which is Kraim’s sister Fadda’s house. In mid-July, IS had sent them to the area, after ordering them and all their neighbours in their area on the outskirts of the city in northern Raqqa to leave, saying it was a ‘military area’.”
“Kraim and the others believe that Jihad Sueilem’s house, across the street, was impacted by shrapnel from this strike. The only person to die in Jihad Sueilem’s house was Yassir’s older sister, Lana Ali al-Njem, who was in the kitchen when something appears to have come through the window. After inspecting the scene, we felt that whatever killed Yassir’s older sister must have come from something else, maybe a separate strike.” The incident reporting this death can be found here: CS1375b.
“Kraim was in the house at the time it was hit. He heard shooting outside so put his head out to have a look. That was when he heard an airplane above. After the strike there was no light but he had a torch. He was looking for his son in the dark. He pulled a body out but then boy said “I’m Yassir, Khaled’s son”. He found his son and saw that he had suffered a head wound. One of the women had been cut in half. Aydan was headless.”
In October 2017, the Coalition conceded it had caused civilian harm in what may be this this strike: “(14.) Aug. 15, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via self-report. During a Coalition strike that engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle, it was assessed that two civilians were unintentionally injured.”
Airwars is still seeking clarification on this event. In their monthly civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition has indicated that the credibility of Amnesty’s civilian harm allegation is in the process of being assessed.
The incident occured at approximately 12:15 am local time.
The victims were named as:
Family members (5)
- Yasser Ali Najem 40 years old male a neighbour killed
- Hussein Ali al Najem 38 years old male Yasser's brother killed
- Malika Ali -Najem 55 years old female Yasser's sister, widow, no children killed
- Dalia Ali Najem 27 years old female Yasser's sister killed
- Fatima Hassan al-Gatt 73 years old female Yasser's mother killed
Family members (3)
- Qotaiba Abdelkareem al Rahil 3 years old male Kraim’s son killed
- Reem Abdelrahman al Rahil 6 years old female Kraim’s daughter killed
- Rubaa Mohammed al Ahmad 35 years old female Kraim’s wife killed
Family members (1)
- Idan al-Abbu Age unknown male killed
Family members (2)
- Aydan al Abo al Issa 70 years old male killed
- Hurriya al Rahil al Khaleel ( 65 years old female Aydan's wife killed
- Hafez Khalaf al Shuaib 42 years old male his boy survived killed
Sources (36) [ 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
Oct 27, 2017
(14.) Aug. 15, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via self-report. During a Coalition strike that engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a vehicle, it was assessed that two civilians were unintentionally injured.
Original strike reports
For August 14th-15th the Coalition reported “Near Raqqah, 27 strikes engaged 19 ISIS tactical units; and destroyed 59 fighting positions, two heavy machine guns, a mortar system, an IED, and a logistics node.” It additionally reported that “On Aug. 14, near Raqqah, Syria, 32 strikes engaged 20 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 18 fighting positions, three IEDs, three heavy machine guns, three command and control nodes, a logistics node, an anti-aircraft artillery system, and an IED factory.”
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. ‘
For Aug 9-15th, France report 2 strikes in Raqqah, Syria – and 13 artillery missions in Mosul.