Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CS957

Incident date

June 10, 2017

Location

سيف الدولة, 23rd February road, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.949412, 39.022963 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

Five civilians including four from the same family died and several more were injured in what appears to have been an artillery bombardment, according to local sources. Multiple reports said that the Thalji building on 23 February Street was hit by shells.

Most sources referred to “shelling” and “artillery” but didn’t name the culprit. While some laid the blame with the SDF, the Coalition has confirmed to Airwars that only it was conducting artillery strikes on the city in this period. Officials later accepted responsibility for two deaths in the near vicinity that day.

According to Mohammed Ottoman, “two artillery shells landed yesterday evening on the Thalji building on 23 February Street, east of Saif al-Dawla junction. Four people, three of them from the same family, were killed.”

According to the Amnesty and Airwars’s joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality”, “An air strike, apparently from a drone killed the four family members [who were] on the roof of a seven story building feeding their birds when drone missile struck”.

According to Amnesty the building previously identified by Airwars as the targeted building is incorrect. The victims parents and Munaf’s wife and baby were in that apartment on the 3rd floor when the father saw the drone strike and told his wife “the boys have gone”.

In April 2019, the Coalition admitted to killing two civilians. The report submitted to Amnesty International stated: “On 10 June 2017, Coalition self-reported that while conducting a strike against enemy combatants, 2 civilians were unfortunately killed due to proximity to the strike.”

Amna – mother of the victim – said in a testimony that “While the children were up on the roof we were on the balcony and saw a drone and then saw a flash and my husband screamed ‘oh my God, the children have gone’. They were all killed.”

The incident occured at 12:00 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (4)

  • Hassan Ghalia Age unknown male killed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4 – 5
  • (3 children1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (14) [ collapse]

  • The building on 23 February Street (via Q_ALenzy Twitter)
  • Ahmad and Munaf Al Thalji (via Amnesty International)
  • Ahmad, Munaf and Ibrahim Al Thalji (via Amnesty International)
  • Ahmad, Munaf and Ibrahim Al Thalji (via Amnesty International)
  • Mohammed Walid Bazzat (via Amnesty International)
  • Munaf Al Thalji and his wife Rayan Mohammed Walid (via Amnesty International)
  • Father of the Thalji boys, left blind by a different strike that killed Munaf's wife, Rayan (via Amnesty International)
  • Father of the Thalji boys, left blind by a different strike that killed Munaf's wife, Rayan (via Amnesty International)
  • Mother of the Thalji boys, Amna, pointing to the hole made by the drone's airstrike that killed her 3 sons and her son's father in law (via Amnesty International)
  • The hole made by the drone strike that killed 4 (via Amnesty International)
  • Building viewed from across the street. The boys were on the roof of this 7 storey building feeding their birds when the drone missile struck (via Amnesty International)
  • Close up of the roof on which the boys were when the drone missile struck (via Amnesty International)
  • Ground level view of the 7 storey building on top of which the 4 were killed (via Amnesty International)
  • View of the building from across the street (via Amnesty International)

Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]

  • The building in which 4 members of the Thalji family were killed seen on satellite imagery before the strike (June 2, 2017)

    Imagery:
    Amnesty International

  • The building in which 4 members of the Thalji family were killed seen on satellite imagery after the strike (July 6, 2017)

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
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    near Raqqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    1 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV0205578331
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 1, 2018
  • June 10, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via self-report: During a strike on an ISIS UAS launch and recovery site, it was assessed that two civilians were unintentionally killed.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For June 9th-10th: “Near Raqqah, 20 strikes engaged 12 ISIS tactical units; destroyed seven fighting positions, four vehicles, three ISIS headquarters, a VBIED, and an ISIS-held building; and suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.”

For 10th-11th it reported: "Near Raqqah, 23 strikes [2 British] engaged 20 ISIS tactical units; destroyed 16 fighting positions, two vehicles, and two ISIS boats; damaged five ISIS supply routes; and suppressed an ISIS tactical unit."
The report also noted that "On June 10, near Raqqah, Syria, 11 strikes engaged 9 ISIS tactical units; destroyed eight fighting positions, a tunnel, a weapons storage facility, and a command and control node; damaged an ISIS factory; and suppressed a sniper.

Moreover, in its September 2017 casualty report, the Coalition noted: “June 10, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via self-report: During a strike on an ISIS UAS launch and recovery site, it was assessed that two civilians were unintentionally killed.”
It also provided coordinates – 35°56’57.7″N 39°01’22.1″E – placing the event on February 23rd Street east of Saif State Street.

France
  • English
    /
    Original

On the 15/6-17, the French MoD reported: "In the past week, France reports his 31 sorties, 28 of which were Armed Reconnaissance or Ground Support (CAS) and 3 were intelligence gathering. Two strikes were conducted by French planes in Iraq and Syria, one in the west of Raqqah city, and the other in the Al Qaim region, both against ISIL fighters. Task Force Wagram carried out 80 artillery strikes in Mosul."

Cette semaine, les aéronefs de l’opération Chammal ont réalisé 31 sorties aériennes dont 28 de reconnaissance armée ou d’appui au sol (CAS) et 3 de recueil de renseignements. 2 frappes ont été conduites par les avions français en Irak et en Syrie, l’une à l’Ouest de la ville de Raqqah, et l’autre dans la région d’Al Qaim, toutes deux contre des combattants de Daech

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    4 – 5
  • (3 children1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (14) [ collapse]