Local media reported that between 25 and 35 or more civilians died in US-led Coalition airstrikes carried out at midday which struck two residential buildings in Al Badou neighbourhood, Raqqa. Despite this, Amnesty field research has since been conducted which only reported the deaths of 16 civilians, spread over two strikes.
The Coalition initially confirmed having unintentionally killed three civilians in this strike – later updating this assessment to 16 killed. The majority of other sources placed the death toll at 35 and all sources blamed the US-led Coalition.
This assessment documents the victims of the second strike which killed ten civilians. The second can be found under CS1621.
Jisr TV reported, “The agency A’maq [IS propaganda] said the American raids targeted the Bedouin neighborhood, which resulted in the death toll”. It added that this came “after the resumption of military operations yesterday, following the failure of negotiations to exit ISIS out of Raqqa in return for not targeting them”. This account was reiterated in a later report by Step News Agency.
SDU Syria said “the planes also raided other areas of the city”, whilst Raqqa 24 noted an unknown number of civilians were wounded following the attacks.
The Amnesty and Airwars’s joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality”, stated that “Fayad Mohammed, a man in his 80s known as Abu Saif, and 15 members of his family and neighbours were among those killed in a double Coalition air strikes which destroyed the Fayyad family home and a neighbour’s house across the road. He had refused to leave the home where he had lived for 50 years when the Raqqa military campaign began.”
A relative of the victim told Amnesty in a testimony that “He insisted that he had lived here for 50 years and would not be evicted by these people (IS) who had taken control of the city and who he considered illiterate, ignorant and extremists.”
Ali Habib, one of the survivors of the attack, stated “I felt the roof of the house collapse on me… I called my wife, my mother, my daughter, but nobody answered… I realised that everybody was dead. I realised that everybody was dead. Then my boy, Mohammed, called out and that gave me the strength to free myself from the rubble and go to him. He had been thrown some 10m away by the explosion. We were both injured. I fainted and when I regained consciousness I heard voices on the other side of the rubble which was all around me and my boy and I called for help and eventually people removed some of the rubble and pulled us out.”
Ammar Amero, a neighbour who was in the area and helped recover the bodies from the rubble, told Amnesty International: “It must have been the last house they hit before the bombardments stopped at 5am. I found the bottom half of Abu Saif in the rubble. Um Abdalla was also visible in the rubble but her legs were trapped under it. She was dead.”
Raqqa RWB later reported that workmen were “rebuilding the Fayad family home, which was destroyed in a Coalition air strike”. The local source agreed that 16 civilians had been killed in the attack.
In March 2018, the Coalition conceded it had caused civilian harm in this strike: “(4.) Oct. 12, 2017 near Al Badu, Raqqah, Syria via social media report. During a Coalition strike to engage an ISIS-defensive fighting position it was assessed that three civilians were unintentionally killed.”
Coalition officials told Airwars this incident occurred at the location 37SEV005796 (Military grid reference with 100 m accuracy).
In July 2018, following the publication of the Amnesty report, the Coalition again assessed the event, this time noting that “October 12, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Amnesty International report. During a strike on reported Daesh fighting positions near a residential area allegedly caused civilian casualties. Sixteen civilians were unintentionally killed.”
The coordinates, within 100m, were this time given as 37SEV006793 – or 35° 57.485′ N 39° 0.399′ E. Officials confirmed to Airwars that this related to event S1432.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
Sources (19) [ collapse]
from sources (10) [ collapse]
Amnesty report on the confirmed Coalition airstrike on Raqqa, 12th October 2017. (via Amnesty International)
Geolocation notes (3) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention residential buildings being struck in the neighbourhood of Al Badou (البدو), for which the coordinates are: 35.95809, 39.00665.
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Jul 26, 2018
During a strike on reported Daesh fighting positions near a residential area allegedly caused civilian casualties. Sixteen civilians were unintentionally killed.
Original strike reports
For October 12th – 13th the Coalition reported “Near Ar Raqqah, 25 strikes engaged nine ISIS tactical units, suppressed one fighting position, destroyed two communications nodes, 10 fighting positions, one vehicle and one ISIS supply road.” And additionally that “Near Raqqah, Syria, four strikes destroyed three ISIS lines of communication and one fighting position.”
‘Thursday 12 October – Tornados struck two Daesh-held buildings in Raqqah, and bombed a terrorist camp in the western Iraqi desert…On Thursday 12 October, over western Iraq, another Tornado flight dropped four Paveways on a Daesh camp in the desert, some 60 miles south-west of Ramadi….This included two Tornado GR4s providing close air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces in Raqqah on Thursday 12 October. A Paveway IV guided bomb was deployed to target the upper storeys of a building from which a Daesh sniper was firing, and a second weapon struck another building from which terrorists were engaged in a combat with the SDF.