Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS598

Incident date

March 20, 2017

Location

المنصورة, Al Mansoura, Al Badiya school, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.81629, 38.75647 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

In a major casualty incident at least 40 civilians died (and as many as 420 according to some claims) with dozens more injured in an alleged Coalition airstrike on the al Badiya school in Mansoura, which was said to have housed up to 100 displaced families.

Coalition commander Lt General Townsend later denied that the strike had killed civilians, stating prior to the conclusion of the Coalition’s own assessment that: “We had multiple corroborating intelligence sources from various types of intelligence that told us the enemy was using that school. And we observed it. And we saw what we expected to see. We struck it. We saw what we expected to see. Afterwards, we got an allegation that it wasn’t ISIS fighters in there; got a single allegation it wasn’t ISIS fighters in there; it was instead refugees of some sort in the school. Yet, not seeing any corroborating evidence of that. In fact, everything we’ve seen since then suggests that it was the 30 or so ISIS fighters that we expected to be there.”

Local monitors disagreed. In a video Jisr TV said: “Tens of people displaced were in that school and until now we couldn’t reach the school and don’t know what happened to them. Whether they evacuated the school or not is unknown before it was targeted by Coalition warplanes.” Qasioun added that “the Coalition carried out three raids on the school and it’s not clear how many people were killed. The school hosted displaced people from Aleppo.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights – also pointing towards the Coalition – put the death toll at 33, reporting: “One of the activists of the Syrian Observatory witnessed 33 bodies being pulled out of the rubble of the school which was destroyed by the Coalition’s warplanes, before members of the Islamic State came and kept people away. Additionally, two people were pulled out alive…Activists at the Observatory were unable to count the number of children and women among the 33 bodies because they were covered while they were pulled out.” Step news agency said that the number of deaths had risen to “more than 50 following Coalition raids targeting the town at noon today”.

The majority of sources stressed that most of the victims were women and children. Smart News was the only outlet providing specific figures, reporting a death toll of seven children and nine women. Smart went on to say that “according to another local source, the Islamic State organization demanded that civilians in the western and southern parts of al-Raqqa evacuate their schools and medical centers because they were being targeted by the coalition ‘for the possibility of being headquarters of the organization.’”

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently meanwhile reported that the “the international coalition dropped leaflets on Al Mansoura and the surrounding villages warning residents to leae their homes after 9pm”.

There were some claims of much higher casualties. According to Raqqa Post the death toll may have been as high as 100: “The school hosted more than 50 families from Maskanah, Homs and other places and there are reports, which are not yet confirmed, that over 100 were killed and many more were wounded. Rescue operations are still taking place.” Baladi put the number killed still higher at 200 civilians – “mostly women and children” – with dozens more injured, adding that the school was completely destroyed. Al Natek also put the number killed at 200.

Q_Alenzy said that the school held 300 displaced people, of which 50 men were outside the building at the time of the attack. The source said it hadn’t yet managed to document the total number of deaths, though it reported that three families had died. According to Euphrates Post, the school was hosting even more refugees, up to “500 displaced women and children”.

A report by Syria News Desk did not refer to the al Badiya school specifically, but alleged that there had been “four raids on two schools inhabited by displaced people from eastern Aleppo. Two houses near the school were hit.” Additionally, “the media activist Mohammed Osman, quoting civilian sources from inside Mansoura, told the Syrian News Agency that the search for missing persons was still ongoing, especially as the raids caused the complete collapse of the two buildings, extensive destruction to the surrounding houses and the combustion of cars and motorcycles”.

As more reports came in, the claimed death toll continued to rise, with one local Mansoura group alleging that it had reached 275 – and specifically blaming “American warplanes”. Mansoura in its Peoples’ Eyes claimed an even higher figure: “420 martyrs with people still looking for survivors”.

A subsequent report by Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said that “the initial death toll for the massacre at Al Badiya school in Al Mansoura committed by the international coalition at dawn yesterday is 183. The bodies are still being pulled out and the number is expected to rise as there was 105 families present at the school.”

In its July 2017 civilian casualty report, the Coalition said it found insufficient evidence that civilians were killed: “March 20, 2017, near Al Mansura, Syria, via social media report: After review of available information and strike video it was assessed that there is insufficient evidence to find that civilians were harmed in this strike.”

In September 2017, Human Rights Watch published the findings of a major field investigation into the incident. The report said the Coalition attack took place at around 11pm local time at GPS co-ordinates 35.817220, 38.756306 – and had killed at least 40 named civilians. It said the dead included both IDPs and families of ISIS fighters.

Following Human Right Watch’s report, the Coalition re-opened and re-assessed the Al Mansoura school allegation. In late June 2018 it concluded it was responsible for killing 40 civilians: “(2.) March 20, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria via social media report. The report was reopened after the receipt of new evidence from Human Rights Watch. During a strike on Daesh militant multifunctional center allegedly caused civilian casualties. Forty civilians were unintentionally killed.”

Later on the Coalition provided Airwars with the military grid reference of the strike (37SDV780636), placing it at the al Badiya school in Mansoura.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (1)

  • Khalif Al-Ayto and his entire family Age unknown male killed

Family members (1)

  • Kitan Al’amash and his family Age unknown male killed

Family members (4)

Family members (1)

Family members (1)

  • Mohammed Jum’a Al-Hadid and his family Age unknown male killed

Family members (18)

  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 1 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 2 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 3 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 4 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 5 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 6 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 7 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 8 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 9 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 10 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 11 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 12 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 13 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 14 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 15 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 16 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 17 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed
  • Saleh Mohammad al Jassem family 18 Age unknown displaced from eastern Aleppo killed

Family members (5)

  • Jawhara Jomea al-Kharaz Adult female named by the Violations Documentation Center as victims from Palmyra killed
  • Kifae Jomea al-Kharraz Adult female named by the Violations Documentation Center as victims from Palmyra killed
  • Haneen Mowaffak Kharaz Child female named by the Violations Documentation Center as victims from Palmyra killed
  • Ahmad Mowaffak Kharaz Child female named by the Violations Documentation Center as victims from Palmyra killed
  • Malak Mowaffak Kharaz Child female named by the Violations Documentation Center as victims from Palmyra killed

Family members (2)

  • Manaf Hussein al A’thab Adult male named by the Violations Documentation Center as victims from Palmyra killed
  • Wife of Manaf Hussein al A’thab Adult female named by the Violations Documentation Center as victims from Palmyra killed

Family members (4)

  • Ibrahim al-Ibrahim al-Farhoud 40 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Halima al-Hamdi, wife of Ibrahim Adult female named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Isma’il 2 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Ahmed 5 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed

Family members (5)

  • Isma’il al-Ibrahim al-Farhoud, (son of Dahiya) 35 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Ala 7 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Amal 5 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Malak 3 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Adel 2 months years old male named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed

Family members (4)

  • Ahmad al-Farhoud Age unknown male named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives), Family of Ahmad al-Farhoud (cousin of Ibrahim and Isma’il) killed
  • Nuha al-Farhoud, wife of Ahmad al-Farhoud Adult female named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives), Family of Ahmad al-Farhoud (cousin of Ibrahim and Isma’il) killed
  • Alyan Child female under age of 10, named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives), Family of Ahmad al-Farhoud (cousin of Ibrahim and Isma’il) killed
  • Lana Child female under age of 8, named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives), Family of Ahmad al-Farhoud (cousin of Ibrahim and Isma’il) killed

Family members (7)

  • ‘Idan Ramadan 50 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Zahra, first wife of ‘Idan Adult female named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Naser Ramadan, son of ‘Idan and Zahra Child male around 13, named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Mansour Ramadan, son of ‘Idan and Zahra 9 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • ‘Alia, second wife of ‘Idan Adult female named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Mohammad, son of ‘Idan and ‘Alia 15 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Kafa’, daughter of ‘Idan and ‘Alia Child female named by HRW, displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives) killed

Family members (3)

  • Maha Khalid al-Salameh 30 years old named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Ali Zuheir al-Khalid 7 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Mohammad Zein Zuhair al-Khalid 5 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed

Family members (6)

  • Muwaffaq Jum’a al-Kharaz 40 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Khitam Khaled Salama al-Du’as 38 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Malak Muwafaq al-Kharaz 8 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Hanin Muwafaq al-Kharaz 5 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Kafa’ Jum’a al-Kharaz 33 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Jawhara Jum’a al-Kharaz 30 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed

Family members (10)

  • Khaled Salama 70 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Muna Mahmoud al-Kubba 57 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Muhammad Khaled Salama 28 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Ahmad Khaled Salama 25 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Asma’ Khaled Salama 22 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Yasmine Khaled Salama 20 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Maha Khaled Salama 18 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Nur Khaled Salama 15 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Munaf Hussein al-‘azab 35 years old male named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Fatima Akram Muhammad al-Eid 33 years old female named by HRW, displaced from the Tadmor (Palmyra) and Sukhna areas (information collected from relatives) killed
  • Khitam Khaled Salama al-Daeas Adult female killed
  • Mohammad Zein Suhair Rabiji Child male named by the Violations Documentation Center as victims from Palmyra killed
  • Dahiya Ramadan Adult displaced from the village of Maskanah (information collected from relatives), around 60, wife of Adel al-Farhoud killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    40–420
  • (16 children15 women10 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    50–56
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (73) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (19) [ collapse]

  • The aftermath of a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 21st 2017. (via Mansoura in its People's Eyes)
  • The aftermath of a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 21st 2017. (via Mansoura in its People's Eyes)
  • Ruins of Badiya School, Mansoura, following an alleged Coalition strike, March 21st 2017. (via Mansoura facebook private messages between Airwars and the pages admin)
  • Ruins of Badiya School, Mansoura, following an alleged Coalition strike, March 21st 2017. (via Mansoura facebook private messages between Airwars and the pages admin)
  • A news bulletin reporting on the alleged Coalition airstrike on Al Mansoura, 20th March 2017. (via JisirTV)
  • The aftermath of a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 21st 2017. (via RBSS)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Mohammad Zuheir Rabiji, killed in a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 20th 2017. (via Palmyra Media Centre)
  • Mohammad Zuheir Rabiji, killed in a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 20th 2017. (via Palmyra Media Centre)
  • A video showing a compilation of photographs from the Coalition airstrike on Al Mansoura, 20th March 2017. (via Palmyra Media Centre)
  • Photo from the opening of the Badia school in Syria in 2009. (via HRW 2017)
  • The aftermath of a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 21st 2017. (via Human Rights Watch September 2017)
  • The aftermath of a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 21st 2017. (via Human Rights Watch September 2017)
  • The aftermath of a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 21st 2017. (via Human Rights Watch September 2017)
  • A report on the US led Coalition airstrike on Al Mansoura, 20th March 2017. (via Human Rights Watch)
  • Amal Ahmed Masri, killed in a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 20th 2017. (via RBSS)
  • Amal Ahmed Masri, killed in a confirmed Coalition strike on a school in Al Mansoura, March 20th 2017. (via RBSS)
  • Deutscher Bundestag Written question. 7 April 2017.

  • Bundestag written question. 10th April 2017.

  • Bundestag Question: Drucksache 18 / 12185 Answer.

Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]

The undisputed location for Al Badida School (مدرسة البادية) in the town of Al Mansoura (المنصورة) is: 35.81629, 38.75647

  • Al Badida School compound (مدرسة البادية) before the airstrike.

    Date taken:
    January 4, 2016

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

  • Al Badida School compound (مدرسة البادية) after the airstrike.

    Date taken:
    May 30, 2017

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible
    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
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    40
  • Stated location
    near Raqqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SDV780636
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jun 28, 2018
  • The report was reopened after the receipt of new evidence from Human Rights Watch. During a strike on Daesh militant multifunctional center allegedly caused civilian casualties. Forty civilians were unintentionally killed.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For March 20th-21st the Coalition stated: “Near Ar Raqqah, 19 strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units; destroyed four petroleum oil lubricant equipment pieces, three barges, three fighting positions, three ISIS headquarters, two VBIED facilities, two VBIEDs, a VBIED factory, a tunnel, a vehicle, a weapons storage facility, and a command and control node; and damaged two supply routes.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    40–420
  • (16 children15 women10 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    50–56
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (73) [ collapse]