Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS863

Incident date

May 25, 2017

Location

ميادين, Al Mayadin, Deir Ezzor, Deir ez-Zor, Syria

Geolocation

35.01979, 40.45123 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

Between 15 and 40 civilians including two to five children and one to three women died, and up to 15 more were injured, in airstrikes on multiple locations in Al Mayadeen. Local sources were initially conflicted as to whether this was the work of the Coalition, Iraqi warplanes or Russia.

However, in April 2018 the Coalition claimed responsibility for the event:  “It was assessed that during a strike on an ISIS media center and headquarters 15 civilians were unintentionally killed.”

In an interview with ITV News in summer 2019, British ISIS fighter Alexanda Kotey claimed that up to 40 people died when a single apartment block [presumably the al-Dahmoush building, see below] was bombed that day – including a notorious British ISIS supporter Sally Jones, known as the ‘White Widow’, and her 12-year-old son Jojo.

Many sources, including Euphrates Post, the Syrian Network for Human Rights and the Smart News Network, initially reported the death of four non-combatants on May 25th. Other sources, however, put the death toll higher, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting that up to 35 civilians died, including many family members of IS.

According to the Syrian Observatory, “Reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the strikes on the Dahmoush building have killed 26 other people at least, most of them are from the families of the organization’s members, others were injured and went missing due to these airstrikes. The Syrian Observatory learned that those who were killed, injured and missing belonged to 7 families of members of the ‘Islamic State’ organization”.

On May 30th Euphrates Post also reported “The death of the mother of Saddam, the wife of Hussein al-Hamad al-Arrouk, who was injured by the raids that targeted the city of Al-Mayadeen a few days ago. She joins her husband, her sons, her daughter and her grandson.”

The Observatory documented a number of strikes by Coalition jets: “At 7:25 pm two warplanes accompanied by two drones hovered in the sky of Al-Mayadin city, coinciding with citizens’ entry to the city’s mosques. Both warplanes carried out 4 strikes using 4 consecutive rockets, the first two rockets targeted the 4-storey al-Dahmoush building, which housed family members of the ‘Islamic State’ organization of Syrian and Moroccan nationalities. It was destroyed completely, and the raid killed a man and 2 women and a baby from Al-Mayadin. A second raid targeted the market of the city, which killed a woman, her 2 children and 2 other children. The number of Syrian people who were killed has become 9, including 5 children and 3 citizen women.”

Arabic.rt also put the death toll at 35 and blamed the Coalition.

However, Zamanalwsl pointed towards Iraqi warplanes.

Two other sources – Alaraby and @abojannarawi201 said that Russia was responsible.

According to Alaraby, Russian warplanes carried out three strikes, and “one of the raids targeted the market of the Office of the vicar in the city centre, and civilian homes resulted in the deaths and injuries.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights later reported: “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights received information from reliable sources about the presence of Ryan Meshaal in al-Dahmoush building 3 hours before it was targeted by the International Coalition; at 7:25 in the evening of Thursday the 25th of May 2017, while the Syrian Observatory can’t confirm whether Ryan Meshaal [one of the founders of IS media agency A’amaq] is among those who were killed by the airstrikes that targeted the building and killed 26 persons of the organization’s families, also the airstrikes caused injuries and some people gone missing, where the Syrian Observatory learned that those who were killed, injured and lost belong to 7 families of the Islamic State organization’s members.”

The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100-metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Mohammed Abdul-Wahab Al-Aziz Adult male killed
  • Wife of Martyr Mohammed Abdul Aziz Adult female killed

Family members (2)

  • Wife of Muhannad Rahbi Adult female killed
  • Mohamad Muhanad Waka’ al Rahbi Child male Baby son of Muhannad Rahbi killed
  • the mother of Saddam Adult female wife of Hussein al-Hamad al-Arrouk killed
  • Jojo Jones 12 years old male Son of Sally Jones, aka the 'White Widow' killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    15 – 40
  • (2–5 children2–3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10–15
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (37) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • The child Mohamad Muhanad Waka’ al Rahbi alleged killed with his mother in shelling by the Coalition forces on al Mayadeen city in Deir Ez-Zour, May 25, 2017 (via SN4HR May 25th 2017).
  • The child Mohammad Muhannad al Rahbi who was killed with his mother in shelling by the Coalition forces on al Mayadeen city in Deir Ez-Zour, May 25, 2017 (via Euphrates post on November 26th 2018).

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

  • 37SFU324762

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known 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
    15
  • Stated location
    near Al Mayadin, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFU324762
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Apr 26, 2018
  • May 25, 2017 near Al Mayadin, Syria via Airwars report. It was assessed that during a strike on an ISIS media center and headquarters 15 civilians were unintentionally killed.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For May 24th-25th, the Coalition reported: “Near Dayr Az Zawr, one strike destroyed an ISIS barge.“
For May 25th-26th, the Coalition reported: "Near Dayr Az Zawr, five strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit; destroyed seven ISIS oil trucks, four ISIS barges, an ISIS well head, a command and control node, and an ISIS headquarters."

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    15 – 40
  • (2–5 children2–3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10–15
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (37) [ collapse]