Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS905

Incident date

June 2, 2017

Location

السباهية, Al Sabahiya, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.95538, 38.96341 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

Al Raqqa Truth and the Syrian Network for Human Rights named one victim of a reported Coalition airstrike on the Al Sabahiya area of Raqqa. The victim was also named by Raqqa24 which blamed the Coalition.

However, RFS reported that artillery had led to the death of an unspecified number of civilians. It didn’t identify the culprit.

In April 2019, the Coalition accepted responsibility for the event, noting: “Coalition aircraft conducted a strike against hostile forces at a Daesh checkpoint. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed due to the proximity of the strike.” The Coalition provided Airwars with coordinates for this event to within a 100m box.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently published a list of 652 names of people allegedly killed by International Coalition strikes from March 15th 2017 to 7th June 2017. One of the reported civilian casualties (Mohammed Ahmed al-Habeel) in this incident is listed, as number 610.

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 revealing 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.

  • Mohammad Ahmad al Habil Age unknown male killed

Summary

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

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Mohamad Ahmad al Habil, killed in an alleged Coalition strike on the al Sabahiya area of Raqqa, June 2nd (via SN4HR)
  • 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 neighbourhood/area at 35.955556, 38.963611

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    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
    Other
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    1
  • Stated location
    near Raqqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SDV967790
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Apr 25, 2019
  • June 2, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft conducted a strike against hostile forces at a Daesh checkpoint. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed due to the proximity of the strike.

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. 2-Jun-17 Raqqah, Syria Air 0 civilians injured 1 civilian killed

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For June 1st-June 2nd, the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 11 strikes engaged nine ISIS tactical units and destroyed five vehicles, three fighting positions, a front end loader and an ISIS crane.” It also later added that on June 1st “Near Raqqah, Syria, five strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed 17 fighting positions, an ISIS headquarters, an ISIS-held building, and an IED.”
For June 2nd-3rd, the Coalition reported: " For June 2nd, the Coalition added "Near Raqqah, Syria, three strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed three fighting positions."Near Raqqah, 10 strikes [1 British] engaged seven ISIS tactical units and destroyed 12 vehicles, five fighting positions, four tactical vehicles, two VBIEDs and an ammunition cache."

United Kingdom
  • English
    /
    Original

"Friday 2 June – Tornados and Typhoons destroyed an armoured truck near Raqqa, and attacked eight targets in Mosul…A mixed Tornado and Typhoon pair used a Brimstone to destroy an armoured truck moving along a main road on the outskirts of Raqqa on Friday 2 June. Two other flights operated over Mosul, where attacks were delivered in very close support to the Iraqi forces, hitting eight Daesh positions with a mix of Brimstones and Paveway IVs. The targets included three machine-gun teams and three groups of terrorists armed with rocket-propelled grenades. In addition, a truck-bomb, concealed close to one of the positions, was also fortuitously detonated by one of the attacks."

Summary

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

Sources (11) [ collapse]