In the Amnesty and Airwars’s joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality”, 15 civilians were reportedly killed in alleged Coalition airstrikes in Raqqa. Although Airwars assesses single sourced incidents as “weak”, researchers have assessed this incident “fair” due to the depth of material provided by Amnesty.
Only five of the victims were identified due to the fired which left bodies charred and unrecognisable.
The report stated that “At least 15 civilians were killed when an air strike struck a fuel tanker parked outside the home of five-year-old Inas Hassan Hammoud while she was playing with the neighbours’ daughters, two girls aged four and three. The three children were killed, along with at least 12 relatives, neighbours and passers-by.”
There is no precise date of the strike, however Amnesty researches have suggested it was between August 18th and September 4th 2017.
The mother of a named victim, Umm Inas, told Amnesty in a testimony that “My little girls was playing with the neighbours’ daughters, as she often did. Missiles struck the street outside the house, setting a fuel tanker parked here on fire and killing everyone. The bodies were reduced to shreds and charred.”
The mother later went on to make an emotional statement, “She was my little angel; always happy, always smiling. She went (died) in the fire that left me nothing of her. I think of her every day all day, as if she was still here”.
In July 2019 the Coalition announced that it had assessed this allegation of civilian harm to be non-credible. Their monthly civilian casualty report noted: “After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (3)
- Rimas 4 years old female mum is Hasna Rajab killed
- Lilas 3 years old female mum is Hasna Rajab killed
- Uncle of their mum Adult male mum is Hasna Rajab killed
- Inas Hassan Hammoud 5 years old female child of interviewee killed
- Ahmad al-Najjar 25 years old male son of owner of basement flat next door killed
Sources (1) [ 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, 2019
Aug. 18, 2017, in Raqqa, Syria, via Amnesty International report. After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.
Original strike reports
Near Raqqah, 19 strikes engaged 17 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 20 fighting positions,
an anti-air artillery system, and a command and control node.