Seven named civilians including four women and a child died in a reported Coalition strike in Raqqah governorate – though there was confusion about whether they had died at Shabhar or Al Matar.
Orient News, citing Raqqa Post, said that seven civilians – five from the Matar family – died. It blamed the Coalition. Raqqa Post reported that an infant (“a couple of months old”) also died. Alwatan put the death toll higher at nine, specifically blaming “American Coalition warplanes”.
Sharqiya Voice said that the Coalition strike was carried out on Al Matar village.
According to the Syrian Network for Human Rights, missiles from Coalition jets killed “six children and their mother”.
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: “Mar. 18, 2017, near Shabhar (Raqqah), 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 (5)
- Amal Al Matar Age unknown female killed
- Thuraya al Matar Age unknown female killed
- Shahad al Matar Age unknown killed
- Hiba al Matar Age unknown female killed
- Ali al Matar Age unknown male killed
- Zahra al Firwan Age unknown female killed
- New born baby Age unknown female killed
Sources (18) [ collapse]
Out of 17 sources, 16 identify the location as Shabhar (شبهر). Only one refers to Matar village, this likely an error as one of the civilians killed was named Matar. We are unable to geolocate Shabhar (شبهر). Open sources data suggests the village is located within the Al Granya subdistrict, inside the Raqqa governorate. The generic coordinate for Al Granya subdistrict are: 36.159560, 38.236989. Our estimate is that the village is in the vicinity of 35.9495233, 38.3992767.
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
Mar. 18, 2017, near Shabhar (Raqqah), 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 March 18th-19th it noted: “Near Ar Raqqah, 11 strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units; destroyed five fighting positions, two ISIS headquarters; and damaged three bridges and two supply routes.”