Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS878

Incident date

May 28, 2017

Location

الحمام, Al Hamam, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.88574, 38.77176 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

Three civilians including a woman and her child died in an alleged Coalition airstrike on Hamman village, according to local media. The victims included Hayat of Mustafa al-Saguri (daughter of Hayaof Sajur) and her unnamed child.

In April 2019, the Coalition accepted responsibility for this event, noting: “Coalition aircraft conducted a strike on a suspected Daesh weapons cache. Regrettably, the strike on an associated target building unintentionally resulted in the deaths of three civilians.” The Coalition also provided Airwars with the coordinates for this event accurate to within a 100m box.

According to Baladi, “On Sunday, three civilians were killed by air raids by the International Coalition on the village of Hamam in the western Rif province. The Syrian forces of the Democratic Forces of Syria (SDF) took control of the village of Houret al-Ajil in the countryside.” RFS Media Office also put the death toll at three

Among the other sources blaming the Coalition were the Syrian Network for Human Rights and Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently.

In its 2019 annual civilian harm report to Congress, the Pentagon omitted this event from its list of US actions, with two officials later confirming to Airwars that all non-US Coalition events had been left out. In March 2020, Airwars, Liberation and De Morgen published a joint investigation indicating that Belgium and France were refusing to accept responsibility for civilian harm in this and other events – despite all other allies ruling themselves out.

Asked to say whether its aircraft were responsible for officially declared civilian harm in up to nine incidents, the Belgian Ministry of Defence told Airwars by email: “For the year 2017, BAF [Belgian Armed Forces] was certainly not involved in all events. With regard to the other data given, BAF was no longer present in theatre. BAF completed its role at the end of 2017. Our conclusion is that all ROEs [rules of engagement] were respected as confirmed by our federal court.”

After confirming receipt from Airwars in June 2019 of details of possible French civilian casualty events, the defence ministry then ceased communication – refusing to answer all subsequent emails.

In May 2020, the Pentagon retrospectively appeared to have added this event to its list of confirmed US civilian harm actions for 2017.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

  • Hayat of Mustafa al-Saguri Adult female daughter of Hayaof Sajur killed
  • Child of Hayat of Mustafa al-Saguri Child female killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 child1 woman)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (22) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Table from May 2020 Pentagon report to Congress, conceding additional US civilian harm events in Iraq and Syria during 2017.

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 35.90036, 38.74763

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
    3
  • Stated location
    near Al Hamam, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SDV794713
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Apr 25, 2019
  • May 28, 2017, near Al Hamam, Syria, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft conducted a strike on a suspected Daesh weapons cache. Regrettably, the strike on an associated target building unintentionally resulted in the deaths of three civilians.

United States
  • May 6, 2020
  • Since last year’s Section 1057 report, CJTF-OIR assessed that an additional 21 reports of civilian casualties during 2017 were credible, with approximately 71 civilians killed and approximately 13 civilians injured as result of U.S. military operations. With these additional assessments, CJTF-OIR assessed that a total number of 191 reports of civilian casualties during 2017 were credible, with approximately 864 civilians killed and approximately 219 civilians injured. 28-May-17 Al Hamam, Syria Air 0 civilians injured 3 civilians killed

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

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"

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 child1 woman)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (22) [ collapse]