At least eight civilians were reported killed in an alleged Coalition airstrike on Sowaydiya, as the US-led Coalition and its SDF ground proxies continued to battle ISIL in Raqqa governorate.
According to Raqqah is Being Slaughtered, there were “nine martyrs and three injured in a massacre at the village of al Sowaydiya Kabira following targeting by international Coalition planes of the home of Khalaf al Illo.
ISIL placed the death toll at 12, while LCCSY said there were “10 martyrs in Raqqa from one family killed in Coalition raids on al Tabaqa.” Step News said 10 civilians were also injured.
The Syrian Observatory reported that “the death toll is expected to rise because there are some people in critical situation. Al-Swidiyyeh massacre is considered the first massacre against civilians carried out by warplanes of the coalition during the year 2017.”
Baladi and Jisr TV were among other sources who also blamed the Coalition, putting the death toll at five. According to the Syrian Network “The bombardment resulted in the killing of eight civilians from the same family including six children and one woman.”
In December 2018, the Coalition announced that it had classed the event as non credible due to a lack of available evidence of civilian harm: “Jan. 6, 2017, near Sowaydiya Kabira, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of available information and strike video it was assessed that there is insufficient evidence to find civilians were harmed in this strike.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (4)
Sources (29) [ 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
Dec 30, 2018
Jan. 6, 2017, near Sowaydiya Kabira, Syria, via Airwars report. After a review of available information and strike video it was assessed that there is insufficient evidence to find civilians were harmed in this strike.
Original strike reports
For January 5th-6th 2017, the Coalition publicly reported: “Near Ar Raqqah, 17 strikes engaged 11 ISIL tactical units; destroyed 10 fighting positions, five oil pump jacks, four oil refinement stills, two oil tanker trucks, an oil storage tank, a tunnel system, a VBIED storage facility, and a vehicle.”
‘Friday 6 January – Typhoons bombed a sniper position west of Raqqa in Syria, a Reaper provided further assistance to Iraqi forces in Mosul…Reaper operations over south-east Mosul continued on Friday 6 January, with three more Hellfire attacks which killed Daesh fighters engaged in very close-quarter combat with the Iraqi forces. Assistance was also provided to the Syrian Democratic Forces in their offensive towards Raqqa, with a pair of Typhoons bombing a Deash sniper position on the north-eastern shore of Lake Assad.’