Up to four civilians died when their boat was struck by the Coalition as they attempted to flee Raqqa, local media said.
In June 2019 the Coalition accepted responsibility for this incident. Its monthly civilian casualty report noted “Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against a Daesh barge. Regrettably, two civilians were unintentionally killed and 10 others unintentionally wounded due to their proximity of the strike.”
The United States later said this was one of its military actions.
According to the Euphrates Post at the time, “the coalition aircraft targets small ferries and boats transporting civilians between the banks of the Euphrates River, resulting in the martyrdom of a young man and his wife.”
Step News Agency, also blaming the Coalition, said that “two young men died” when their boat was struck as they tried to escape – which appears to be the same event.
In an August report by Amnesty International, a woman was interviewed who stated that her cousin Yasser along with two women and a man had been killed in an airstrike around June 10th. This event is likely related, as the victim was transporting people across the river. The interviewee stated that “A plane hit the boat and killed him and two women and a man he was transporting. He had taken me and my family across the river a few days earlier. That is what he did, he helped people to flee.”
The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.
There has been some confusion as to the exact date of this incident. Amnesty research was inconclusive on the date, so it has reported it as being ‘around the 10th’, whilst Airwars public sources pointed towards the 12th. The Coalition has also reported the 10th for this incident, so we have included a date range.
In its annual; civilian harm report to Congress in May 2020, the Pentagon declared this to have been a US action.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (2)
Sources (11) [ collapse]
from sources (1) [ collapse]
Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest neighbourhood/area at 35.932126, 39.006111 The MGRS released by the Coalition in the first assessment was: 37SEV044776 The MGRS released by the Coalition in the second assessment was: 37SEV012766
Attached to this civilian harm incident is a provisional reconciliation of the Pentagon's declassified assessment of this civilian harm allegation, based on matching date and locational information.
The declassified documents were obtained by Azmat Khan and the New York Times through Freedom of Information requests and lawsuits filed since March 2017, and are included 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
June 12, 2017, near Euphrates River, Raqqah, Syria, via Airwars 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.
Jun. 10, 2017, near Raqqa, Syria, via Amnesty International report. Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against a Daesh barge. Regrettably, two civilians were unintentionally killed and 10 others unintentionally wounded due to their proximity of the strike.
Original strike reports
For June 11th-12th, the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 23 strikes 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.” It additionally reported that “On June 11, near Raqqah, Syria, six strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed three fighting positions and suppressed a sniper team.” And that “On June 11, near Raqqah, Syria, two strikes destroyed two fighting positions.”
For June 12th-13th, the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 22 strikes engaged 20 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 21 fighting positions and four vehicles.” It additionally reported that “On June 12, near Raqqah, Syria, nine strikes engaged six ISIS tactical units and destroyed seven fighting positions, an IED factory, an ISIS staging area, an ammo cache, and a command and control node.”
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.’