Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS1380

Incident date

August 17, 2017

Location

Mu'awiya school/Mal'ab Al-Aswad area, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.960023, 39.003649 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

Thirty civilians including up to 13 children and three women from three families died and dozens more were injured in alleged Coalition airstrikes and artillery shelling on Raqqa, according to local sources. Reports said that the entire Al-Sayer Al-Enezi family died in the strike – along with multiple members of other families.

There was, however, some confusion about the location of the event. According to Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently – which put the death toll at 30 – the Al-Sayer family died in the Mu’awiua school area. However, Ahmad Shbli reported that the family were killed in a strike on the Mal’ab Al-Aswad area, along with Idan al-Abo al-Issa and his wife.

Sharqiya Voice, also blaming the Coalition, said that the Al-Sayer family died in the Mu’awiya school district. And according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, the family died in the al Tawase’eya neighbourhood.

Sky News, Masrawi and Qasioun said that Coalition raids on the Mu’awiya school area killed 23 civilians including thirteen children from the Al-Enezi family.

Sound and Picture provided the most detail on the event, reporting that “30 civilians were killed and dozens were injured in an air strike by the International Air Force aircraft targeting a residential building near the school of Muawiya bin Abi Sufian in the Al Wahda neighbourhood (Unity neighbourhood), in the city of Raqqa.

Three civilian families were killed in a coalition air strike targeting the building in which they live, totalling least 30 people, most of them women and children. The correspondent denied the existence of any IS headquarters in the building.”

The joint Amnesty and Airwars’s report from 2019 “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality” reported in details about how the strikes killed members of the al-Sayer family.  Hafia, the wife of Mahmoud Lafi al-Sayer, told Amnesty that “at 2 am, an airstrike of the home of Haifa al-Sheikh killed 12 members of her family – five children, three women and four men. The carnage occurred only hours after she had lost her brother and nine other relatives in an air strike on her brother’s home.”

Haifa told Amnesty’s researcher that “I picked up the dead, the children; they were in pieces. This was a beautiful home, a happy home. Now nothing remains. I spend every moment of every day thinking about them. May God give me strength.”

In total, Hafnia lost her husband Mahmud Lafi al-Sayer, her sons Azzam and Husam, nieces Rawda Lafi al-Sayer and Amira lafi al-Sayer, nephew Muthanna Barakat al-Sayer, 34 and his wife Hanadi Khalaf al-Saba, pregnant, and their six children; Taima’, Hamza, Basma, Rahma and Azzam and their unborn fetus.

 

The incident occured at 2:00 am local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (13)

  • Mahmoud Lafi Al - Sayer 61 years old male killed
  • Rawda Lafi Al - Sayer 48 years old female killed
  • Amira Lafi Al - Sayer 45 years old female killed
  • Marwan Barakat Lafi Al - Sayer Age unknown male killed
  • Hanadi Khalaf al-Sabaa Age unknown female pregnant Marwan Barakat Lafi Al - Sayer's wife killed
  • Muthanna Marwan Barakat Al - Sayer 34 years old male killed
  • Tayma Marwan Barakat Al - Sayer 10 years old female killed
  • Hamza Marwan Barakat Al - Sayer 9 years old male killed
  • Basma Marwan Barakat Al - Sayer 5 years old female killed
  • Rahma Marwan Barakat Al-Sayer 4 years old male killed
  • Azzam Marwan Barakat Al - Sayer 23 years old male killed
  • Husam al-Sayer 19 years old male killed
  • unborn fetus of Hanadi killed

Family members (2)

  • Idan al-Abo al-Issa Adult male killed
  • Idan al-Abo al-Issa's wife Age unknown female killed

Family members (3)

  • Ibrahim Hassan Al Awad Age unknown male killed
  • Yahya Hassan Al Awad Age unknown male killed
  • Sumaya Yahya Hassan Al Awad Age unknown female killed
  • Hajj Hussein Abdo al - Kurdi Adult male killed
  • Saeed Mohammed Al Mahmoud Age unknown male killed
  • Yasser Al - Humaidi Age unknown male killed
  • Hanadi Khalaf al-Shamailani al-Anzi Age unknown female killed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    30
  • (4–13 children2–3 women3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–36
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (31) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (12) [ collapse]

  • Four children from the Al-Sayer family, who died in an alleged Coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Aug 17th (via Sharqiya)
  • Idan al-Abo al-Issa (via RBSS)
  • Muthanna Barakat Lafi Al - Sayer (via RBSS)
  • Haj Fawaz Jassan al-Sayyid (via RBSS)
  • Basma al-Sayer, who died in an alleged Coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Aug 17th (via Amnesty/Airwars)
  • Hamza al-Sayer, who died in an alleged Coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Aug 17th (via Amnesty/Airwars)
  • Muthanna Barakat al-Sayer, who died in an alleged Coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Aug 17th (via Amnesty/Airwars)
  • Rahma al-Sayer, who died in an alleged Coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Aug 17th (via Amnesty/Airwars)
  • Taima Al sayer, who died in an alleged Coalition airstrike in Raqqa, Aug 17th (via Amnesty/Airwars)
  • Via Amnesty International
  • Via Amnesty International
  • Via Amnesty International

Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]

  • The Muawiya school (مدرسة معاوية بن ابي سفيان), the stadium and Al Ansar mosque (مسجد الأنصار) in the Al Wahdah area (marked in red)

    Imagery:
    © 2019 Google

  • Before the attack.

  • After the attack.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For August 16th-17th, the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 20 strikes engaged 16 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 17 fighting positions, a logistics node, an IED, a command and control node, an ISIS UAS and a vehicle.” It additionally reported that “On Aug. 16, near Raqqah, Syria, 23 strikes engaged 16 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 18 fighting positions, eight command and control nodes, two tunnels, two heavy machine guns, an ISIS UAS, an anti-aircraft artillery system and an ISIS line of communication.” And that “On Aug. 16, near Raqqah, Syria, five strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed two command and control nodes and a mortar system.”

United Kingdom
  • English
    /
    Original

‘Thursday 17 August – Tornados and Typhoons attacked a mortar near Tall Afar, and two machine-gun teams and a sniper in Raqqa...With the Iraqi forces advancing on Tal Afar, a mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair provided close air support on Thursday 17 August. A coalition surveillance aircraft spotted a terrorist mortar, and was able to guide our aircraft into a successful attack with a Paveway IV. A second mixed pair maintained operations over Raqqa, and used Paveways to destroy one sniper and two machine-gun teams.’

France
  • English
    /
    Original

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. ‘

France
  • English
    /
    Original

For Aug 16-22, France report 5 strikes in Iraq and 2 in Syria. Task Force Wagram conducted 60 artillery missions.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    30
  • (4–13 children2–3 women3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12–36
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (31) [ collapse]