In September 2017, it was reported that 7 civilians were killed in the Al Fardous neighbourhood in Raqqa, following alleged US-led Coalition airstrikes.
Alraqqa Ahlna identified three of the victims and said that an additional “three young men and one woman” were killed but they remained unidentified as the bodies were still under rubble. A later report from Ar Raqqa Al Hadath gave further details of one of the victims, Abu Aboud Ibrahim Al-Karaf: he was a judge who had graduated from the University of Damascus in 1994 with a Doctorate in law. According to the report the coalition bombing “hit his house next to Al Basrawi mosque.” It described him as “one of the most prominent jurists in the province of Raqqa” where he “served as a public lawyer”. Reportedly he “refused to leave Raqqa until the date of his martyrdom”. All sources blamed the US-led Coalition for the incident. Some cited the use of artillery. Airwars understand that only the Coalition have access to artillery in Raqqa.
In February 2019, the Coalition assessed this event to be non-credible. Their report noted: “After review of all available strike records it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.”
During investigations of this event for the April 2019 joint Airwars and Amnesty report War in Raqqa: Rethoric versus Reality (www.raqqa.amnesty.org), Amnesty field researchers named 2 more victims and identified the precise location of this strike, reporting that a total of 5 people were killed. The report notes: “Two members of the Badran family and three neighbours were killed in the last 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.” The strike hit Faisal Mahmoud Al Sukhni’s house (a three-storey building) at 4pm, west of the Fardous mosque, killing the owner, tenant and 3 guests. Another man and his son in a separate section of the house survived. Amnesty researchers spoke to a witness, named Rasha: “As Ousama and Mohammed left the neighbour’s house a drone struck the road. They ran back into the house and immediately a plane bombed the house and destroyed it. Mohamed, Ousama, the owner of the house and two guests were all killed.” Amnesty also spoke to Abdel’ila Basrawi al Karaf, who testified to the event that killed his father, Ibrahim Basrawi al Karaf.
In their monthly civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition has indicated that the credibility of Amnesty’s civilian harm allegation is in the process of being assessed.
The incident occured at 16:00:00 local time.
- Faisal Mahmoud Abdalziz al Sukhni 51 years old male house owner killed
- Senad al Dhabba 25 years old male killed
- Ibrahim Basrawi al Karaf 63 years old male Interviewee Abdel’ila Basrawi al Karaf's father and former Raqqa Attorney-General killed
- Osama al Badran 30 years old male killed
- Mohammed al Aboud 40s years old male killed
Sources (14) [ 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
Feb 28, 2019
Sept. 10, 2017, near al- Basrawi Mosque Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report. After review of all available strike records it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Original strike reports
For September 9th – 10th the Coalition reported “Near Raqqah, 34 strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units; destroyed 21 fighting positions, 16 vehicles, four heavy machine guns, two command and control nodes, a logistics node, and engineering equipment; and suppressed six fighting positions.”
For September 10th - 11th the Coalition reported •Near Raqqah, 23 strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units; destroyed 20 fighting positions, two logistics nodes, and a vehicle; and suppressed two fighting positions" It later reported, "Additionally, 15 strikes consisting of 21 engagements were conducted in Syria and Iraq on Sept. 10 that closed within the last 24 hours. On Sept. 10, near Raqqah, Syria, 11 strikes engaged five ISIS tactical units; destroyed 14 vehicles, three fighting positions, a logistics node, and an anti-air artillery system; and suppressed a fighting position"
‘Monday 11 September – Tornados destroyed two sniper positions in Raqqa, and attacked a Daesh-held compound and terrorists on a motorcycle near Dayr az Zawr…A flight of Royal Air Force Tornados supported the Syrian Democratic Forces fighting in Raqqa on Monday 11 September, when Paveway IV guided bombs were used to destroy two sniper positions. A second Tornado flight patrolled north-east of Dayr az Zawr, where they attacked a group of terrorists in a compound with a Paveway IV. Survivors of the attack then attempted to move to another position on a motorcycle, but were successfully engaged with a Brimstone missile.’