Initially this incident was reported on by several sources as an alleged airstrike or artillery shelling in the Dar’iya neighbourhood in the city of Raqqa, in which 1 or 2 cilivilians died. During investigations of this event for the April 2019 joint Airwars and Amnesty report War in Raqqa: Rethoric versus Reality (www.raqqa.amnesty.org), Amnesty field researchers were able to identify 4 separate locations where civilians were killed in artillery shelling on the morning of the 10th of June, described in CS956a, CS956b, CS956c and CS995. They all took place in Safa Street, in the neighbourhood Dar’iya and the name originally reported by Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently and the Syrian Network for Human Rights (Rahmoun Al Sheikh, male, adult) was linked to one of these locations. The Amnesty investigation, however, reports the death and names of 3 civilians, rather than 2.
A prior August report by Amnesty International featured an interview with Ahmad Mahmoud who was himself injured in the shelling along with a boy and girl who were in the same room. He stated that at least 12 people were killed by the shelling between 1 and 2pm: “I can only speak about the 12 people I know who were killed in five houses near where I was. I don’t know if the other shells killed more people.” Most sources pointed to the Coalition as responsible, but according to Jisirtv, “a young man was also killed by artillery shelling of the Kurdish separatist militia around Al-Safa mosque in Dar’iya neighbourhood.” Baladi put the death toll at two and blamed also SDF shelling. However, only the Coalition has confirmed to Airwars that it was the only one using artillery on the city during the battle.
The joint Amnesty/Airwars report War in Raqqa: Rethoric versus Reality notes: An artillery shell struck the house of the Abderrahman Sheikh Ahmad in Safa street, killing him and another man who lived in the house and his one-year-old son. Their neighbour, Ali, spoke to Amnesty researchers: “I helped recover their bodies; they were in shreds. There were body parts on the tree in the yard.”
In February 2019, the Coalition assessed this event to be non-credible. Their report noted: “After review of all available strike records it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.”
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Sources (6) [ collapse]
from sources (4) [ collapse]
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
Feb 28, 2019
June 15, 2017 near al-Dar’iya, Raqqah, Syria via Airwars report. After review of all available strike records it was determined that more likely than not civilian casualties did not occur as a result of a Coalition strike.
Original strike reports
For June 14th-15th, the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 11 strikes engaged eight ISIS tactical units; destroyed nine fighting positions, three ISIS boats, and a vehicle; and suppressed an ISIS tactical unit.”
For June 15th-16th the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 20 strikes engaged 14 ISIS tactical units and a sniper and destroyed nine fighting positions, four vehicles, three mortar systems, two supply caches, two ISIS headquarters, a heavy machine gun, and a home-made explosives factory.” It also additionally reported that “On June 15, near Raqqah, Syria, six strikes destroyed eight fighting positions, an ISIS headquarters, and a tunnel, and suppressed two snipers.” And that “On June 15, near Raqqah, Syria, one strike destroyed six fighting positions, five ISIS staging areas, two command and control nodes, an ISIS headquarters, and a supply cache, and damaged 10 fighting positions and two VBIED facilities.”
For June 14th-20th, 19 strikes were made by French aircraft in Iraq and Syria. Most of them were carried out during the Battle of Mosul, in support of the Iraqi fighters engaged in the fighting to drive ISIL out of its positions in the North of the Medina. The other strikes were carried out in support of the fighting for the capture of Raqqah, and against flows of arms and fighters in Iraq and Syria.
Cette semaine, les aéronefs de l’opération Chammal ont réalisé 34 sorties aériennes dont 31 de reconnaissance armée ou d’appui au sol (CAS) et 3 de recueil de renseignements. 19 frappes ont été réalisées par les avions français en Irak et en Syrie. La majeure partie d’entre elle ont été réalisées dans le cadre de la bataille de Mossoul, en appui des combattants irakiens engagés dans les combats pour chasser Daech de ses positions au Nord de la Médina. Les autres frappes ont été réalisées en appui des combats pour la prise de Raqqah, et contre des flux d’armes et de combattants en Irak et en Syrie.’
hursday 15 June – A Reaper destroyed a terrorist vehicle in eastern Syria. Typhoons struck three targets in Raqqa, while Tornados and Typhoons hit a mortar near Tal Afar and six targets in Mosul…The following day [June 15th], a Reaper remotely piloted aircraft conducted armed reconnaissance in eastern Syria, some 35 miles north-east of Dayr az Zawr, and used a Hellfire missile to destroy a terrorist truck. Two Typhoons also struck three Daesh positions in Raqqa in support of the offensive by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).