Amnesty and Airwars’s joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality” reported that a drone strike killed a family of ten as their house in northern Raqqa was struck.
Reportedly, three IS fighters were present in the area in the morning, but when a suspected drone was heard the three fleed. The family also tried to flee but the airstrike hit their two-storey farmhouse and killed the 10 family members who were inside.
Meanwhile, other family members who were outside the house, survived unharmed, one of the surviving family members, Mahmoud, told Amnesty’s researchers.
However, on August 30th 2018, the Coalition said it had concluded an assessment of possible civilian harm. In the report, the Coalition wrote: “May 28, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via self-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 Coalition shared the location of this assessed strike with Airwars: 37SDV974852. The event could also possibly be related to incident S769, but this incident cannot be discounted due to insufficient information on the location.
In July 2019 the Coalition reassessed the allegation of civilian harm in this incident and again reached a conclusion that it was non-credible. Their monthly civilian casualty report noted “After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.”
The incident occured at 13:30:00 local time.
The victims were named as:
Family members (10)
- Ibrahim Mustafa al-Mashood 50 years old male brother of interviewee killed
- Ahmad 13 years old male son of Ibrahim killed
- Mahmood 21 years old male son of Ibrahim killed
- Mohamed 24 years old male son of Ibrahim killed
- Mustafa Mahmood Mashood 32 years old male son of interviewee killed
- Ahmad Mahmood Mashood 24 years old male Mustafa's brother killed
- Jaman Mahmood Mashood 20 years old male Mustafa's brother killed
- Ibrahim Mahmood Mashood 15 years old male Mustafa's brother killed
- Ahmad Mahmood Mashood 12 years old male interviewee’s nephew killed
- Name unknown 30 years old male
- Sami 30 years old male the farm guard, nickname Abu Jana killed
Sources (2) [ collapse]
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
Jul 26, 2019
May 28, 2017, in Raqqa, Syria, via Amnesty International report. After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties.
Original strike reports
For May 27th-28th the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 15 strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units; destroyed six fighting positions, three ISIS headquarters, an ISIS staging area and a VBIED.” The Coalition additionally reported that on May 27th “Near Raqqah, Syria, three strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit; destroyed a six fighting positions, an ISIS-held building and a weapons cache.”
For May 28th-29th, the Coalition reported: "Near Raqqah, eight strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units; destroyed two fighting positions, two vehicles, two VBIED factories, two VBIED facilities, and an ISIS mechanical facility." For May 28th it added "Near Raqqah, Syria, four strikes destroyed a weapons cache, an ISIS staging area, and three fighting positions".