In a major casualty incident, as many as between 33 and 60 civilians, including many women and children, died following US-led Coalition airstrikes on Al-Sakhani, Raqqa. Almost a year later the US-led alliance accepted responsibility for 33 deaths.
According to Baladi, the strike was near the Al-Hani mosque, while Qasioun reported that one of the strikes hit a building in which civilians were sheltering.
Local media reported that the airstrike occurred on the 20th August, however recent up to date Amnesty field research conducted has reported the strike to have occurred on the 22nd at 7pm.
Local media reported that the majority of those killed were from the same family. A Tweet by @AhmadShblii identified eight of the victims as displaced persons from Palmyra.
All sources obtained held the US-led Coalition responsible for the alleged massacre. In addition to the civilians that died, “dozens” were suspected injured.
Albosleh and @LaSyrianNews put the death toll as high as 60.
According to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which also blamed the Coalition, the 42 civilians it said were killed in the strikes included 19 children. This report may have conflated another, however.
A June 2018 report by Amnesty stated that on 20 August 2017 at 7pm, “Coalition forces simultaneously bombed the two neighbouring houses in which the family were staying.” These air strikes reportedly killed 33 Badran family members and other civilians, mostly women and children. A large number of civilians killed in the airstrike were identified in the report.
In its July 2018 civilian casualty report, the Coalition accepted responsibility for the event: “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. Thirty three civilians were unintentionally killed.”
The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.
In the Amnesty and Airwars’s joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality” it was reported that “Thirty-three members of the Badran Family and neighbours, most of them women and children, were killed in the third and most devastating set of four separate air strikes which killed a total of 39 family members and 10 neighbours as they fled from neighbourhood to neighbourhood in search of safety.”
In addition to this, Rasha, a survivor of the strike told Amnesty in a testimony that “Only I, my husband and his brother and cousin survived. In the morning we found Tulip’s body; our baby was dead. We buried her near there, by a tree. I don’t understand why they bombed us. Didn’t the surveillance planes see that we were civilian families?”
The incident occured at 19:00:00 local time.
The victims were named as:
Family members (33)
- Shamsa al Badran Bint Mustafa 40 years old female killed
- Sahar Mohammad Ahmad al Badran 17 years old female Mohammad's daughter killed
- Saja Mohammad Ahmad al Badran 15 years old male Mohammad's daughter killed
- Ahmad Mohammad Ahmad al Badran 13 years old male Mohammad's son killed
- Hamza Mohammad Ahmad al Badran 11 years old male Mohammad's son killed
- Daham Mohammad Ahmad al Badran 4 years old male Mohammad's son killed
- Saddiqa al Badran Bint Mustafa 38 years old female Shamsa’s sister, Ismael's wife killed
- Mundher Ismail al Saaid 12 years old male Ismael's and Shamsa's son, twin of Sidra killed
- Sidra Ismail al Saaid 12 years old female twin of Mundher killed
- Aseel Ismail al Saaid 6 years old female Ismael's and Shamsa's daughter
- Sumaya al Badran bint Mustafa 45 years old female widow, no children killed
- Abta al Badran bint Mustafa 50 years old female widow killed
- Qays Mohammad al Sahu 24 years old male Abta's son killed
- Mays Mohammad al Sahu 18 years old female Abta's daughter killed
- Khud al Badran bint Mustafa 48 years old female divorced killed
- Rana Hsein al-Shammari 18 years old female Khud's daughter killed
- Thuraya al Badran bint Mustafa 55 years old female killed
- Ibrahim early 30s years old male Thuraya's son killed
- Madonna mid-late 20s years old female Ibrahim's wife killed
- Thuraya's nephew 1 Child male killed
- Thuraya's nephew 2 Child male killed
- Thuraya's niece Child female killed
- Mohammad Khalil 30 years old male killed
- Ali al Badran ibn Mustafa 44 years old male no children killed
- Ibrahim Fahd Ibn Wahab al-Khadr 70 years old male killed
- Khadija al Sahu 60 years old female Ibrahim's wife killed
- Tulip Fahd bint AbdulWahab Abbude 1 years old female Rasha's and Abbude's daughter killed
- Osama Ibrahim Fahd 32 years old male Abbude's brother killed
- Mohamed Imbrahim Fahd 28 years old male Abbude's brother killed
- Souad 50 years old female Iraqi national, wife of local man killed
- Abu Riad 60s years old male Souad's husband killed
- Maha mid 20s years old female daughter of Souad and Abu Riad killed
- Amina al Raqim 60s years old female unmarried, was with Souad and Abu Riad killed
Sources (41) [ collapse]
Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the Al Sakhani (السخاني) neighbourhood of Raqqah, near the Al Hani (الحني) mosque, for which the coordinates are: 35.951373, 39.016984. Following field research by Amnesty International, the incident was found credible by the US-led Coalition, who provided the following MGRS coordinate (accurate to 100m): 37SEV014786.
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. Thirty three 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.”
For Aug 16-22, France report 5 strikes in Iraq and 2 in Syria. Task Force Wagram conducted 60 artillery missions.
‘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.