Four to five civilians were reported killed and ten injured in a Coalition airstrike on al Tabaqa.
According to most sources a possible civilian woman, two men and two children died in the attack. According to ISIL’s media wing “a child and a woman and man [were] killed and 10 people injured as a result of an American raid on al Thani neighbourhood in al Tabaqa city west of Raqqa.” The Syrian Observatory reported that “the number of the dead is likely to rise due to the serious injuries.”
Shaam News said that SDF ground forces shelled nearby villages killing a woman – but that a child was killed by the Coalition at al Tabaqa.
Syrian News desk cited a local sources as sayng that “all the dead are from one family, while there are two wounded in a critical condition, who were transferred to the National Hospital in Raqqa. The raids resulted in the destruction of two houses completely with great damage to three homes nearby, in addition to physical damage to other property.”
The Syrian Network said two children died.
The Coalition announced in February and March 2017 that the incident was being assessed. In June it announced: “Dec. 20, 2016, near Al Tabqah, Syria, via NGO report: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographic area of the reported civilian casualties. The closest strike to the report of possible civilian casualties was approximately a kilometer away.”
Given the close proximity of declared Coalition strikes (1,000m) and assertions by locals that an airstrike was responsible for the deaths, Airwars continues to list this as a likely event.
In September 2017 Human Rights Watch published a field study into the incident, noting that “Local residents told Human Rights Watch that an airstrike had hit the area a few months earlier as well. On December 20, 2016 an airstrike hit a building adjacent to the market, which ISIS used to collect taxes; the attack destroyed the building, but left the market intact. One local resident said that the December attack had killed his sister’s children, aged 6 and 12, two civilian men, and a person to whom he referred as an “ISIS woman” from Turkey.
In response to questions from Human Rights Watch, the CJTF press desk acknowledged in an email that the CJTF had conducted the December attack, targeting an ISIS financial storage facility. The press desk said that the CJTF had observed the target on multiple occasions to assess a civilian pattern of life; that it struck the target at night; and that it selected the size and fuzing of the munition to minimize potential harm to civilians. Following questions from Human Rights Watch, the CJTF press desk said the CJTF conducted an assessment of “intelligence reports, video footage, etc” and concluded that the allegations of civilian casualties were “non-credible.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (2)
- Rawan Hisham al Haj Saleh 8 years years old female killed
- Riham Hisham al Haj Saleh 13 years years old female killed
- Fateh Abdoun 35 years years old male killed
Sources (22) [ 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
Jun 2, 2017
No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographic area of the reported civilian casualties. The closest strike to the report of possible civilian casualties was approximately a kilometer away.
Original strike reports
For December 19th-20th 2016 the Coalition reported: “Near Ar Raqqah, three strikes destroyed one oil tanker truck and damaged an ISIL supply route.”