Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS1405

Incident date

August 22, 2017

Location

الملاهي, near Malahi (amusement park), Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.958095, 39.006309 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

A major civilian casualty event in which 40 to 50 or more people reportedly died, and between 60 and 100 people injured, followed US-led Coalition airstrikes in conjunction with artillery shelling, alleged local sources.

The offensive targeted the Malahi (Amusement Park) district of Raqqa City and obliterated a four-storey residential building, where more than 40 civilians were said to be inside. Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, amongst others, said that seven entire families were victims of the attack. Sources described a “crusade of coalition aircraft and artillery #SDF”. Airwars understands that only the Coalition have access to artillery in Raqqa.

Subsequent reports labelled the incident a “horrific massacre” in which “mostly women and children” were killed. Both Smart and Micro News did not mention the US-led Coalition explicitly, but referred to “warplanes” and “artillery” that targeted residential buildings in a collaborative operation. All other sources cited the US-led Coalition directly.

In their first assessment of this event in October 2017, the Coalition deemed this event non-credible, reporting that “The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.” In their second assessment in March 2022, the Coalition kept this even classified as non-credible, with the reasoning that “After review of all available evidence it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    40 – 50
  • Civilians reported injured
    60–100
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • 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 (17) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • The aftermath of an alleged Coalition strike on Raqqa's Malahi neighbourhood, August 22nd 2017. (via RBSS)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention a four-storey residential building next to the Amusement Park (حديقة الملاهي) in the city of Raqqah. Airwars geolocated the image shared by RBSS of this building to these exact coordinates: 35.958095, 39.006309. Damage to this building can be seen on satellite imagery between August 21 and 25, 2017.  Coordinates released by the Coalition place the event at 35.95808, 39.00630

  • Damage seen on satellite imagery to the building in the image shared by RBSS (left: August 19, 2017; right: August 25, 2017)

    Imagery:
    © 2019 Google

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient information on the time and location, Other
  • Stated location
    near Raqqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    1 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV0056879299
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Mar 10, 2022
  • Oct 27, 2017
  • The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility.

  • Aug. 22, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report. After review of all available evidence it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike. 2771/CS1405 37SEV0056879299

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For August 22nd – 23rd the Coalition reported “Near Raqqah, 14 strikes engaged 13 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 26 fighting positions, an ISIS headquarters, a command and control node, and ISIS engineering equipment.” It additionally reported that “On Aug. 22, near Raqqah, Syria, 27 strikes engaged 17 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 27 fighting positions, three IEDs, two command and control nodes, a logistics node, and ISIS engineering equipment.” And that “On Aug. 22, near Raqqah, Syria, seven strikes engaged seven ISIS tactical units and destroyed seven fighting positions and an ISIS headquarters.” It also later noted that “On Aug. 22, near Raqqah, Syria, one strike engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed a fighting position.”

Media
from belligerent (1) [ collapse]

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

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    40 – 50
  • Civilians reported injured
    60–100
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • 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 (17) [ collapse]