Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS510

Incident date

February 20, 2017

Location

منطقة مدرسة المعري, Al Maari school area, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.9635, 39.00998 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

Between five and ten civilians including three women died and ten others were injured in an airstrike on the Al Maari school area of Raqqa, according to local media. While the majority of sources said that this was the work of the Coalition, one report attributed the incident to the Assad regime. The Coalition later confirmed it had killed at least three civilians in the event.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently reported that a raid had targeted the Al Maari school in Raqqa city. They told Airwars that this was the same strike as one on Qitar street (listed below.) However, other sources reported this strike as a separate incident.

Step News said that the Coalition was responsible for a raid killing five civilians on Al Maari school. RFS put the death toll higher, at seven. According to Ummayya Press – which also said that seven civilians (including three women) died – “the strike had targeted the north of the city in the area of al Marri school, near a bakery.” It added: “Abu Maaz al Raqqa told al Ummaya Press that ‘the raid targeted a residential neighborhood, in an area near a bakery, where there were long queues of civilians. Seven died and a large number were wounded.

“Wali Furat al Wafa, a media activist from Raqqa, told al Ummaya Press ‘there is no truth to what some activists claims that Russia is bombing Raqqa’, asserting that ‘coalition planes are the perpetrators of this massacre, as recently it does not care about the lives of civilians, as long as it it gets to its single minded goal of Daesh.’”

Ara News also blamed the Coalition, reporting that it had stepped up raids. According to the source “twenty civilians were killed by targeting Maari neighborhood and Al Qitar street near the workers’ housing east of the city. In the aerial bombing that targeted Al Qitar street nine civilians were killed, including women and children, and about ten were wounded”.

A report by Syrian Mirror put the death toll for the strike on the Maari are as high as ten – adding that a “second massacre” then took place on Qitar street (listed below). The also blamed the Coalition. However, one report, by Syrian Press Center, said that the regime was responsible, putting the death toll at five.

In their July 2017 civilian casualty report, the Coalition noted: “During a strike on an ISIS weapons storage facility, it was assessed that three civilians were unintentionally killed when they entered the target area after the munition was released.”

In July 2019 Coalition officials confirmed that their 2017 report was referring to this incident and provided Airwars with the location, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 10
  • (3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Translation: a new massacre near al Maari secondary school in Raqqa - the victims 7 martyrs at least and a number of wounded in raids by planes based in al Angrilik turkish bases
  • Translation: 5 civilians martyred and others wounded following an air raid targeting al Maari area in Raqqa city.

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest neighbourhood/area at 35.9621355, 39.0097957

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    Entered target area just prior to or after munition released
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    3
  • Stated location
    near Raqqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV009799
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jul 7, 2017
  • Feb. 20, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via media report: During a strike on an ISIS weapons storage facility, it was assessed that three civilians were unintentionally killed when they entered the target area after the munition was released.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For February 20th-21st, the Coalition reported: “Near Ar Raqqah, seven strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units; destroyed three fighting positions, a VBIED, a garage, an IED and a weapons facility; and damaged a bridge.”

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3 – 10
  • (3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (18) [ collapse]