In a major civilian casualty incident, up to 36 civilians including 14 children died and dozens more were wounded in airstrikes on Abu Kamal, near the Syrian-Iraqi border, according to local sources – though reports were conflicted as to whether the US-led Coalition or the Iraqi air force were liable. The Coalition later took responsibility for 25 deaths.
In its reporting at the time Shaam News pointed towards the Coalition, putting the death toll at 23, including five children, reporting that there had been “several rocket attacks on the vicinity of the Egyptian roundabout and the East School in front of the electricity company in the city.”
Euphrates Post also attributed the event to the Coalition – again putting the death toll at 23 which included 14 children, five women and four men, with dozens more injured. Its source reported that “At approximately 11:30 pm yesterday, the residential area in the vicinity of the Al Masriya roundabout at the end of Al-Maarri Street was hit by missiles and air strikes. According to eyewitnesses, this is the first time that the city of Al Bukamal has been targeted with these highly explosive missiles – thought to be land to land missiles. The targeted house belongs to one of the expatriates in the Gulf (Khalil al-Hamdan Abu Saif). His home had been occupied by Daesh who were using it as a headquarters and warehouse for weapons and equipment”.
Other sources put the death toll higher. For example, 811Syria, also blaming the Coalition, said that 26 Syrians died and four Iraqis. JisirTV put the number killed as high as 26 – and attributed the event to the Coalition. One source, AJA, referred specifically to “heavy American shelling”.
However, some other sources said that the Iraqi air force carried out the strikes: Al Jazeera, Shahba, Almo3tasem91, Orient and Yaqein referred to “Iraqi air raids” and “Iraqi warplanes”. Yaqein added “sources told us that ‘this attack is not the first carried out by Iraqi aircraft on sites inside Syrian territory.’”
Smart News Agency did not identify the culprit but said that “warplanes are likely to have launched several missile attacks on the vicinity of the Egyptian [al masri ] roundabout and the East School, opposite the electricity company”.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said that three members of IS were also killed.
In addition to those named sources reported the death of four member of a displaced Iraqi family.
On July 7th, the Coalition confirmed responsibility for this event. In a release, it wrote: “April 17, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via social media report: During a strike on an ISIS headquarters building, it was assessed that 25 civilians were unintentionally killed and 40 were injured in adjacent structures by secondary explosions from the target building.”
In July 2019, the Coalition provided Airwars with the location for this incident accurate to within a 100 metre box.
The incident occured around midnight.
The victims were named as:
Family members (1)
- Mohammed Jedaie Adult male plus seven members of the family killed
Family members (1)
- Mazen al-Mardoud plus three members of the family killed
Family members (1)
- Shawish family four members killed
- The wife of Abdul-Jabbar Thabet al-Taweel Adult female killed
Sources (42) [ collapse]
Reports of the incident mention the city of Abu Kamal (also known as Al Bukamal, البوكمال) in Deir Ezzor governorate. The coordinates for Abu Kamal are: 34,466049, 40,907593. The Al Masriya (دوار المصرية) roundabout at the end of Al Maari street (نهاية شارع المعري) is mentioned. The coordinates for the Egyptian roundabout are: 34.442177, 40.923112. Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest city at 34.466049, 40.907593
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Jul 7, 2017
April 17, 2017, near Abu Kamal, Syria, via social media report: During a strike on an ISIS headquarters building, it was assessed that 25 civilians were unintentionally killed and 40 were injured in adjacent structures by secondary explosions from the target building.
Original strike reports
For April 16th-17th, the Coalition reported: “Near Abu Kamal, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an ISIS vehicle.”
For April 17th-18th, the Coaltion reported: ” Near Dayr Az Zawr, four strikes destroyed four ISIS well heads, a command and control node and an ISIS vehicle.”