Up to 30 civilians died and many more were wounded in an alleged Coalition airstrike on a gathering of civilians near boats which they were going to use to ferry them across the Euphrates River as they attempted to escape Raqqa, multiple local sources reported.
The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that at least 11 non-combatants had died, while Asharqiya Voice put the number at 15 with six more missing. Other sources – all of them blaming the Coalition – put the figure at 14.
Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently said that 17 were killed, reporting that the vicitms died after the Coalition allegedly struck “a gathering of boats and civilians near the old bridge”.
One resident of Raqqa told the New York Times that “coalition warplanes and drones had attacked ferries transporting vegetables across the Euphrates River into Raqqa, causing the deliveries to halt.”
According to Syrian Mirror, “On Monday, 5 June 2017, the United States-led coalition against the State [IS] organized a new massacre of civilians following air strikes targeting a civilian compound near the old Raqqa bridge.
Field activists said that an International Coalition fighter targeted a gathering of civilians at a boat stand carrying civilians to the opposite bank of the Euphrates River, resulting in a massacre of 17 civilians, in addition to the injury of many more.” The Syrian Observatory, also pointing towards Coalition, put the death toll at 21. All other sources also blamed the Coalition.
A former Air Force intelligence officer told the New York Times that “as civilians were trying to flee fighting in the city of Raqqa in June 2017, scores of people boarded makeshift ferries to cross the Euphrates River. He said the task force claimed the ferries were carrying enemy fighters, and he watched on high-definition video as it hit multiple boats, killing at least 30 civilians, whose bodies drifted away in the green water.” The incident described in this interview seems to match CS920.
In their monthly civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition has indicated that the credibility of this civilian harm allegation is in the process of being assessed.
Jun. 5, 2017, near Raqqa, Syria via Airwars report. The Coalition actions identified in this allegation are duplicates of those in allegation 515 (Not Credible, published July, 2018). 3103/CS920 37SEV00976
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (2)
- Mohammed Sheikh Steif al-Nashif Age unknown male killed
- his son Jassim Mohammed al-Nashif Age unknown male killed
- Ahmad al Abd al Hussein Age unknown male killed
- Mohammad al Abd al Hussein Age unknown male killed
- Omar al Ahmad al Yussef Age unknown male killed
- Shaaban Al Ali Al-Hammadi Age unknown killed
- Mohammad Mustapha al Mohammad al Hassan Age unknown male killed
Sources (22) [ 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 8, 2021
Jun. 5, 2017, near Raqqa, Syria via Airwars report. The Coalition actions identified in this allegation are duplicates of those in allegation 515 (Not Credible, published July, 2018). 3103/CS920 37SEV009765
Original strike reports
For June 4th-5th the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 11 strikes engaged nine ISIS tactical units and destroyed four fighting positions and five vehicles.” In addition it reported for June 4th that “Near Raqqah, Syria, five strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units and destroyed 49 boats, five fighting positions, three anti-air artillery systems, two tactical vehicles and two ISIS staging areas.”
For June 5th - 6th the Coalition reported: "Near Raqqah, 24 strikes [1 British] engaged 18 ISIS tactical units; destroyed 19 boats, 12 fighting positions, eight vehicles, a house rigged with explosives, and a weapons storage facility; and suppressed an ISIS tactical unit" It later reported, Additionally, eight strikes were conducted in Syria and Iraq on June 5 that closed within the last 24 hours. Near Raqqah, Syria, seven strikes engaged two ISIS tactical units and destroyed two ISIS staging areas, two fighting positions, a VBIED factory, an ISIS tunnel, an ISIS sentry post, a vehicle, and a command and control node"
‘Monday 5 June – Typhoons struck a Daesh-held building in eastern Raqqa, whilst Tornados hit two terrorist firing points in a building in Mosul…On Monday 5 June, two Typhoons, supporting Syrian Democratic Forces close to Raqqa, used a Paveway IV to strike a Daesh-held building in the east of the city itself. Tornados meanwhile continued operations over Mosul, and employed a pair of Brimstone missiles to deliver pinpoint attacks on two firing positions located in a large multi-storey building, where the terrorists had stationed a recoilless anti-tank gun and a machine-gun.’
2459/5000 'CHAMMAL ASSESSMENT OF SITUATION In Syria, on June 4, under pressure from the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), the terrorist organization abandoned the Baath Dam on the Euphrates (between Tabqah and Raqqah). Subsequently, the SDS announced June 6 the start of the offensive for the recovery of Raqqah. The coalition supports forces engaged in this battle, which can be long and difficult. This week, with the support of the coalition, the ground forces made significant first steps on the north, west and southwest fronts of the city. Leaving ground, Daech organizes its withdrawal along the Euphrates towards the city, and traps massively the ground. In Iraq, Daesh continues to lose ground in the north of the country, but continues its asymmetric actions in the capital. In the battle for the recovery of the historic center of Mosul, the terrorist organization is still fiercely opposed to the Iraqi offensives. Heavy fighting took place in the last days in the area of the Jamhuri hospital complex, which until now remained in the hands of the terrorist fighters. ACTIVITIES OF THE CHAMMAL FORCE Air support to the Levant This week, the aircraft of Operation Chammal made 36 sorties, including 32 for armed reconnaissance or ground support (CAS) and 4 for intelligence gathering. 8 strikes were carried out by French planes in Iraq and Syria. They were all conducted in support of ground operations as part of the Daesh operations in Mosul and Raqqah. Support is becoming increasingly complex in Mosul, given the fighting in highly urbanized areas and narrow, narrow streets. Fire support - TF Wagram The Task Force (TF) Wagram continued this week its missions in support of the 15th Iraqi Division in charge of securing the northwest of the city of Mosul and in particular the Badush sector. It has carried out 58 firing missions in support of Iraqi units. The activity was particularly marked by the defense of the rear areas of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) because of the harassing actions of Daesh. For example, on 1 June, the force fired counter-battery fire to prevent mortars from attacking Iraqi units before destroying a defensive position of the terrorist fighters and then a command post.
‘CHAMMAL APPRÉCIATION DE SITUATION En Syrie, le 4 juin, sous la pression des Forces Démocratiques Syriennes (FDS), l’organisation terroriste a abandonné le barrage de Baath sur l’Euphrate (entre Tabqah et Raqqah). Par la suite, les FDS ont annoncé le 6 juin le début de l’offensive pour la reprise de Raqqah. La coalition soutient les forces engagées dans cette bataille qui peut être longue et difficile. Cette semaine, avec l’appui de la coalition, les forces au sol ont réalisé de premières avancées importantes sur les fronts nord, ouest et sud-ouest de la ville. Cédant du terrain, Daech organise son repli le long de l’Euphrate en direction de la ville, et piège massivement le terrain. En Irak, Daech continue à perdre du terrain dans le nord du pays, mais poursuit ses actions asymétriques dans la capitale. Dans la bataille pour la reprise du centre historique de Mossoul, l’organisation terroriste oppose toujours une vive résistance aux offensives irakiennes. De rudes combats se sont déroulés les jours derniers dans le secteur du complexe hospitalier de Jamhuri qui reste jusqu’alors dans les mains des combattants terroristes. ACTIVITÉS DE LA FORCE CHAMMAL Appui aérien au Levant Cette semaine, les aéronefs de l’opération Chammal ont réalisé 36 sorties aériennes dont 32 de reconnaissance armée ou d’appui au sol (CAS) et 4 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 dans le cadre des opérations contre Daech à Mossoul et Raqqah Les appuis deviennent de plus en plus complexes à réaliser dans Mossoul compte tenu des combats qui se déroulent dans des zones fortement urbanisées et aux ruelles étroites et resserrées. Appui feu – TF Wagram La Task Force (TF) Wagram a poursuivi cette semaine ses missions en appui de la 15e division irakienne en charge la sécurisation des abords Nord-Ouest de la ville de Mossoul et notamment du secteur de Badush. Elle a réalisé 58 missions de tir en appui des unités irakiennes. L’activité a été plus particulièrement marquée par la défense des zones arrière des Forces de Sécurité Irakiennes (FSI) en raison des actions de harcèlement de Daech. Ainsi, le 1er juin, la force a effectué des tirs de contre-batterie pour empêcher des mortiers de prendre à partie les unités irakiennes avant de détruire une position défensive des combattants terroristes puis un poste de commandement.’