Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS837

Incident date

May 18, 2017

Location

سهلة البنات, Sahlab al Banat, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Airwars assessment

An August 2017 Amnesty International report documented the death of three civilians as a result of three strikes on their one-storey house in Sahlat al Banat on the evening of May 18th.

Amnesty field researchers interviewed Hassan, a family member of the victims. “This strike killed the two boys as they were coming back into the house [having brought the car for their grandmother]. My brother was killed inside one of the rooms of the house. His body is still under the rubble”, he stated to the organization’s interviewers.

According to Hassan, two planes and two helicopters were flying above the village, targeting an ISIS vehicle that would wait next to civilian houses and fire in the air. According to the interviewee, the strikes never hit the vehicle: “They [the planes] hit many houses but they didn’t even hit the vehicle. It moved too quickly and they would strike five minutes too late.”

Osama Abdallah, who posted on the death of his grandfather that was killed in another raid of strikes on Sahlat al Banat on May 19th [S738], also made mention of his two cousins who “left on Thursday 18/5/2017 looking for a car to leave al Mashlab village in Raqqa. We haven’t heard anything from them since. The first is Izzedin Mohammad Abdallah al Najjar and the second is Abdel Rahman Ahmad Abdel Rahman Abdallah al Najjar. I call on all my friends in Raqqa and the surrounding area if anyone sees them or hears anything about them please let us know. Many thanks.”

One family, which was interviewed separate from Hassan, confirmed to the Amnesty researchers that Abd-al-Rahman Ahmed al-Abdulla, aged 20, and Ezzeldine Mohamed, aged 19, were killed in the multi-day raids, as well as Osama’s grandfather, Abd- al-Rahman al-Abdulla, aged 72.

 

Sources: Osama Abdallah [Arabic], [Archived], Amnesty International

Quality of reporting: Contested – unclear whether Coalition or SDF is responsible

Coalition position:

Summary: Coalition forces deliberately bombed pro-regime forces near At Tanf base in southern Syria.

In a statement, the Coalition said the forces “advanced will inside an established de-confliction zone northwest of At Tanf, Syria May 18” and posed “a threat to U.S. and partner forces at At Tanf.”

There were no reports of civilian casualties.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (3)

  • Izzedin Mohammad Abdallah al Najjar 19 years old male killed
  • Abdel Rahman Ahmad Abdel Rahman Abdallah al Najjar 20 years old male killed
  • Abd- al-Rahman al-Abdulla 72 years old male

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    Insufficient evidence of civilian harm
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    near Sahlat al-Banat, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV050809
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Apr 26, 2018
  • 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

US-led Coalition

For May 17th-18th, the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 11 strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units; destroyed five fighting positions, three mortar systems, three vehicles, two ISIS fuel trucks, and an ISIS headquarters; and damaged an ISIS supply route.” It was additionally reported that “Near Raqqah, Syria, on May 17th, three strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit; destroyed two fighting positions and a supply cache; and damaged two ISIS supply routes and a fighting position.”
For May 18th-19th: “Near Raqqah, eight strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units; destroyed four fighting positions, two tunnels, two VBIED facilities, a mortar system, a vehicle, a supply cache, an ISIS headquarters, a weapons cache, and a tactical vehicle; and damaged three fighting positions.” It was additionally reported that on May 18th “Near Raqqah, Syria, two strikes destroyed an ISIS headquarters, an ISIS-held building and an ISIS recruiting station.”May 18th 2017: Al Tanf, Homs governorate, Syria

France
  • English
    /
    Original

"This week, Operation Chammal aircraft carried out 38 sorties, 30 of which were armed reconnaissance or ground support (CAS), 2 refueling, and 6 intelligence gathering. Eight strikes were conducted in Iraq and Syria. They were all in support of ground operations, mainly in Mosul, but also near Tabqah and Palmyra in Syria. Task Force Wagram conducted 80 artillery strikes."

"CHAMMAL APPRÉCIATION DE SITUATION En Syrie, après la prise de la ville de Tabqah et de son barrage, les forces démocratiques syriennes (FDS) mènent des opérations de sécurisation de la zone, afin de la nettoyer des nombreux pièges et engins explosifs improvisés (IED) laissés par Daech, alors que la population revient dans la ville. Plus près de Raqqah, les FDS ont poursuivi leur progression vers la ville en s’emparant de plusieurs positions défensives occupées par Daech. En Irak, Daech poursuit ses actions de diversion et de harcèlement dans le pays. Celles-ci continuent de se concentrer contre les forces irakiennes dans l’Anbar. Dans la région de Mossoul, l’offensive des Forces de sécurité irakiennes (FSI) a été marquée par des gains territoriaux quotidiens. Au nord, la 9e division poursuit son avancée le long du Tigre. Les autres unités resserrent l’étau autour de la médina en continuant d’avancer depuis l’ouest. Les trois quarts de la ville sont désormais libérés, mais la progression des FSI est freinée par un réseau d’habitations toujours plus dense à mesure qu’elles se rapprochent de la Médina où Daech est toujours solidement retranché. ACTIVITÉS DE LA FORCE CHAMMAL Appui feu – TF Wagram La Task Force (TF) Wagram appuie désormais la 15e division irakienne, qui a repris en charge la sécurisation du secteur de Badush à la suite de la 9e division, profondément engagée dans les zones urbaines de Mossoul. Elle a réalisé 80 missions de tir en appui des unités irakiennes, essentiellement d’éclairement pour contrer ou interdire les actions de harcèlement et d’infiltration de Daech. Appui aérien au Levant Cette semaine, les aéronefs de l’opération Chammal ont réalisé 38 sorties aériennes dont 30 de reconnaissance armée ou d’appui au sol (CAS), 2 de ravitaillement, et 6 de recueil de renseignements. 8 frappes ont été réalisées par les avions français en Irak et en Syrie. Elles ont toutes été conduites en appui des opérations au sol, principalement à Mossoul, mais également près de Tabqah et Palmyre en Syrie."

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 children)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]