Coalition air raids on Raqqa resulted in the deaths of 9 civilians, including 4 children. The US-led alliance later admitted responsibility for the deaths, following an Amnesty International field investigation.
Amnesty researchers interviewed Munira Hashish who lost 18 members of her family, nine of whom were killed in a Coalition air strike. She stated: “It was when they (the Coalition planes) saw us that they struck. The strike occurred straight after we re-entered the house. It happened just after the call for midday prayer. I remember hearing the call to prayer, then the strike happened. My brothers Hussein and Mohammed and their kids and the neighbours were all killed. Those who were not killed were injured. The only one who survived unharmed is my grandchild, a baby aged four months. I was holding him in my arms and he was not hurt.”
Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently had originally reported that 21 civilians, including all members of the Hashish family, were killed in a Coalition airstrike on a home in the Muroor neighbourhood of Raqqa. The report however noted that the incident took place on August 19th and also included family members that, according to the Amnesty report, were in fact “mined by IS, and […] killed by a mortar seemingly launched by the SDF.”
The case was also included in the April 2019 Amnesty/Airwars joint report War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality (raqqa.amnesty.org): “Munira Hashish and her family lived in Dara’iya, a low-income neighbourhood in western Raqqa. The family was not well off; Munira’s husband, Hussein Ibrahim Hashish, supported the family as best he could by selling vegetables out of a cart. Despite repeated attempts to flee, the Hashish family lost 18 members, mostly women and children, over a two-week period in August. A Coalition air strike killed nine, seven died as they tried to flee via a road which had been mined by IS, and two others were killed by a mortar launched by SDF. “Those who stayed died and those who tried to run away died. We couldn’t afford to pay the smugglers; we were trapped,” Munira Hashish told us. After seven family members were killed by mines set by IS and later nine more were killed by a Coalition air strike, the family was finally able to escape “by walking over the blood of those who were blown up as they tried to flee ahead of us.,” she said.”
In July 2018 the Coalition accepted responsibility, noting: “August 20, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Amnesty International report. During a strike on a reported Daesh position near a residential area allegedly caused civilian casualties. Nine civilians were unintentionally killed.”
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:
Family members (15)
- Mohammed Ali Hashish Age unknown male killed
- Amal Al Ali Al Hashish Child female killed
- Nour al-Ayoun Ali Hashish Child male killed
- Ali Mohammed al-Hashish Child male killed
- Hussein Al-Ali Al-Hashish Age unknown male killed
- Mahdiah Ibrahim Hashish Age unknown female killed
- Ahmed Hussein Hashish Child male killed
- Ismael Hussein Hashish Child male killed
- Mustafa Hussein Hashish Child male killed
- Ibrahim Hussein Hashish Child male killed
- Mohammed Hussein Hashish Child male killed
- Fatima Hussein Hashish Child female killed
- Ali Hussein Hashish Age unknown male killed
- Badia Hamoud Al Ali Age unknown female killed
- Hassan Hussein Al-Ali Hashish Age unknown male killed
Family members (3)
- Hazar Al-Ali Age unknown male killed
- Hussein Hassan Ali Child male killed
- A girl from Hassan Ali's family Child female killed
Family members (2)
- Ibrahim Abdul-Issa Al-Antar Age unknown male killed
Sources (4) [ 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, 2018
August 20, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Amnesty International report. During a strike on a reported Daesh position near a residential area allegedly caused civilian casualties. Nine civilians were unintentionally killed.
Original strike reports
For August 19th-20th: “Near Raqqah, five strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed three fighting positions.” It additionally added that “On Aug. 19, near Raqqah, Syria, 36 strikes engaged 22 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 29 fighting positions and seven command and control nodes.” That “On Aug. 19, near Raqqah, Syria, six strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed five fighting positions, an IED, and a command and control node.” And that “On Aug. 19, near Raqqah, Syria, one strike suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.”
‘Sunday 20 August – Tornados and Typhoons hit a target in Raqqa, a group of terrorists and vehicles in eastern Syria, and five Daesh positions around Tal Afar…On Sunday 20 August, Typhoons bombed a further Daesh position in Raqqa. In eastern Syria, Tornados targeted a group of terrorists deployed near the border with Iraq – two Paveways hit their trucks and killed several of the extremists.
For Aug 16-22, France report 5 strikes in Iraq and 2 in Syria. Task Force Wagram conducted 60 artillery missions