In Raqqa, at least 28 and as many as 42 civilians from seven families displaced from Palmyra, Deir Ezzor and Raqqa were killed as an alleged Coalition air strike destroyed the building they were sheltering in, multiple local and international media reported. Among the killed were at least ten women and five children.
This strike only came a week after a similar strike near the Maari School, which killed at least 32 civilians, Amnesty International reported. That incident is described in CS1527.
This strike, that hit another building south of the Maari School, was initially reported in four separate incidents dated between October 8th and 9th. However, field research by Amnesty International, who spoke to a relative of the victims named Maha reported that they were all killed in the same event, that happened between September 27th and 29th.
While Amnesty’s field research reported 28 victims, the total death toll reached 42, as per other, local sources’ reports. However, most of the identified victims were reported by both Amnesty and local sources.
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.”
Initially reported in CS1611, local sources said how seven to nine civilians, displaced persons from Palymra, died in Raqqah city from alleged Coalition airstrikes, as they were sheltering in a building. These deaths were reported on October 11th, though the incident was said to have taken place “several days ago.” A girl named as Ghazal Ahmed Obaid Taha had reportedly “survived a previous massacre one month ago which injured her and killed her entire family, and she is now martyred in this massacre”.
It should be noted that in the Amnesty and Airwars joint report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric Versus Reality” it was reported that both Najah Abderrazzaq Hammada and Abderrazzaq Ali Taha died on 25th September on the other airstrike near Al Ma’ari school that happened earlier. Their names were initially linked to this strike between the 27th and 29th of September, but they have therefore been removed from the incident. See CS1527 for details on their deaths.
In a single-source case, initially coded CS1608, Palmyra Revolutionary Committee reported the deaths of three family members following “bombing” on Raqqah on October 8th. The source named the following: “The wife of the martyr Abdul Aziz Al-Saeed and the martyrdom of her children: Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al-Saeed and Ghani Abdul Aziz Al-Saeed in the bombing that targeted an entire neighbourhood housing a large number of displaced people from the city of Palmyra in Raqqa and killed dozens of martyrs”. Their deaths were also echoed in the field work by Amnesty in early 2019. However, Amnesty added that Ghani Abdul Aziz’ three-month-old son also was killed.
On October 9th, initially reported in CS1616, Palmyra Revolutionary Committee reported the death of “the wife of Reham Awad Al-Abdullah and the child Fatima Bahaa Al Din”. The source blamed the Coalition. According to Amnesty’s field research, a 20-year old woman from the “Bahieddine family” and her five-month-old daughter died in the strike. They are most likely the same two victims as reported by Palmyra Revolutionary Committee, their names are reported separately below.
Moreover, on October 8th, initially reported in CS1607, various sources reported that ten displaced persons from Palmyra died in alleged US-led Coalition airstrikes on Raqqah city, whilst sitting inside their house in the city. All sources blamed the US-led Coalition. Among the ten reported victims, these sources mentioned a so-called “Mohammad Qassem Abu Ahmed” and his wife Sabah. These names correspond with Amnesty’s field research, which, however, added that besides from Mohammed and his wife, another 12 family members were killed, including Mohammed’s parents, his five sons and one daughter and wives and children of two of the sons.
All sources in the total of four cases above, are now merged into one, as the Amnesty fieldwork pointed out that the civilian deaths reported in these 4 cases were all the result of one strike, allegedly carried out by the Coalition.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
- Aziza Abd Taha Age unknown female killed
- Ala ‘Ali Taha Age unknown female killed
- Abdul Razzaq Ali Taha Age unknown male killed
- Ghazal Ahmed Obaid Taha Age unknown female killed
Sources (16) [ 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
Jun 28, 2018
The report contains insufficient information of the time, location and details to assess its credibility
Sep. 27, 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
For October 8th – 9th the Coalition reported “Near Raqqah, 24 strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units, destroyed 15 fighting positions, 11 vehicles, one VBIED, one machine gun, and four command and control networks.” It additionally reported that “Near Raqqah, 2 strikes damaged an ISIS fighting position; and disrupted a line of communication.”
For October 9th – 10th the Coalition reported No strikes in Raqqah.