Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS1643

Incident date

October 17, 2017

Location

Ar Raqqah, Iraq

Geolocation

35.9505639, 39.0094148 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Up to 500 bodies were reported found in two mass graves at Al Rasheed high school football stadium in the city center of Raqqa.

A report by M2 Akhbarak quoted Abdullah al-Erian, head of the Reconstruction Committee of the Raqqa Civil Council, stating that “so far about 50 bodies have been removed from the mass grave containing between 150 and 200 bodies belonging to civilians and militants.” According to al-Erian, the mass graves were found under the football field near a hospital. “Daesh was confined inside the national hospital and some civilians remained. This was the only place that appeared to be available for burial. They were buried in a hurry”, al-Erian stated.

Masrawy quoted a local from the city’s Naeem district, who mentioned that when the Coalition bombing intensified, the stadium was the only place where people could bury the dead, “I believe that the number of those buried on the playground is more than 500, and they are civilians”. Euphrates Post, Sound and Picture, RBSS and Smart News also reported that the mass grave contained “approximately 500 bodies”.

A report by Horrya stressed that it is not known “whether the bodies belonged to civilians who were killed in raids by the International Coalition during the June 2017 takeover of Rigga or to a massacre by Daesh.” Smart News quoted local activist Mohammed al-Othman, who mentioned that most of the bodies in the mass grave belonged to young men.

One local official told Agence France Presse that “Some of the bodies have the military name of the jihadis […]. The bodies of civilians carry only the first names.”

Raqqa RC interviewed Abu Ali, who buried his son and his sister at Al Rasheed. According to Abu Ali, people killed in strikes were taken to Al-Watani hospital and buried in the mass grave the next day.

In the first of their September 2020 civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition assessed reports that they were responsible for civilian harm in this strike as “non-credible”, stating that the allegation provided insufficient information on the timing and location of the strike to make a determination.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 woman)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (26) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • Members of the "initial response team" carrying an exhumed body from the mass graves at Al Rasheed stadium, 17th October 2017. (via RBSS)
  • Members of the "initial response team" carrying an exhumed body from the mass graves at Al Rasheed stadium, 17th October 2017. (via RBSS)
  • Exhumed body bags from the mass graves at Al Rasheed stadium, 17th October 2017. (via RBSS)
  • Members of the "initial response team" carrying an exhumed body from the mass graves at Al Rasheed stadium, 17th October 2017. (via RBSS)
  • A member of the offical response unit continues to dig bodies out of the mass grave. (via Raqqa RC)
  • Footage of a man talking about how he buried his son and his sister here in the mass grave. (via Raqqa RC)

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
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV006786
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 9, 2020
  • Oct. 17, 2017, in Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report. The report contains insufficient information on time, location, or details to assess its credibility. 3160/CS1643 37SEV006786

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Date of event currently unknown

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    2
  • (1 child1 woman)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (26) [ collapse]