Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Belligerent
Country
start date
end date
Civilian Harm Status
Belligerent Assessment
Declassified Documents
Infrastructure

Incident Code

CS1012

Incident date

June 15–16, 2017

Location

جامع المنصوري, Al Mansouri mosque, Raqqa, Syria

Geolocation

35.94817, 39.01663 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A total of 25 civilians including one woman and 10 children died in SDF/Coalition shelling near the Al Mansouri mosque in Raqqa, according to local media. The US-led Coalition later conceded the event following an Amnesty field investigation.

Multiple reports said that a home near the mosque was hit with artillery or mortar shells or rocket attacks.

According to @24Raqqa “more than 10 mortar shells fell on the perimeter of Al-Mansouri Mosque and the old mosque in the center of the city of Al-Raqqa”.

Meanwhile, @raqqa_r_w_b reported that Dalal Ahmad Hussein al-Nayef died when a home next to the mosque was struck and Al Ragga Truth reported: “The martyrdom of Ahmed Al-Hussein Al-Nayef from injuries sustained several days ago by the bombardment in the vicinity of Al-Mansouri Mosque.”

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.”

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently published graphic images showing casualties and destruction of Raqqa on June 16th, though the pictures were not necessarily specific to this incident.

According to a local source interviewed by Amnesty International’s field researchers, the first strike came at around 7.30pm near the Old Mosque on Sharia Jama al Qadeemeh.

In a later Amnesty/Airwars study of the incident, it was reported in the Amnesty and Airwars’s joint April 2019 report “War in Raqqa: Rhetoric versus Reality” report that, Ahmed, who lived in the centre of Raqqa, near the Old Mosque, told Amnesty International that on 15 June a public gathering of IS members prompted shelling which killed 25 civilians.

“There had been a problem between IS and local civilians. I was in the area buying fruit juices for Iftar. It was around 7.15 in the evening. I saw a heated situation develop and I stopped on the corner to see what was going on. People were gathered outside the Old Mosque where IS used to exchange money for Durham Da’ashi [IS currency]. Some people got into an argument with an IS guy about the exchange rate. The IS guy took out his pistol and hit a man on the head with it. A fight broke out and around 20 local civilians beat two IS guys to death.

Soon afterwards six or seven IS cars arrived on the scene full of armed IS guys. They ordered everyone to return home immediately. They closed down all the shops and blocked off the streets. I went home, just down Sharia Jama al Qademeeh.

The first strike came at around 7.30pm. When I heard the explosion I ran from my home with my wife and three children, one of whom is disabled. We ran to a neighbour’s house and hid in the cellar. There were 20 people from the neighbourhood in the cellar. He had prepared everything so there was food and water. We didn’t come out for two days.

All night they shelled, every 15 minutes, with mortars and artillery. You could tell from the sound. The street is 2km long. There were around 100 IS in the area and around 2,000 civilians. When the shelling began the IS got in their cars and escaped. They [the SDF/coalition] killed 25 people on Sharia Jama al Qadeemeh, including 10 children. I know because I met up with my neighbours and other people from the area at “aind al Democrati” [the SDF collection point for civilians beyond the frontline]. We all talked and everyone knew someone who had been killed that night.

One of the strikes hit my house and destroyed it. It was an Arab house of three storeys in Jama al Qadeemeh. It also destroyed the adjoining house. The family living there was killed. Three brothers, Jihad aged 20-23, Ahmed aged 18 and Mahmoud, aged 15 or 16. Jihad’s wife Beytool was also killed. She was 19 or 20 and had been 2 months pregnant. Another person killed was Abu Maher, a local motorcycle mechanic.

When we came out of the cellar we arranged to leave the area. I paid the smugglers 400USD to get me and my family out of Raqqa. We crossed the river and then crossed back again at Sahel where the SDF was positioned”.

The incident occured at approximately 7:30 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Jihad
20-13 years old male killed
Beytool
19 years old female pregnant Wife of Jihad killed

The victims were named as:

Dalal Ahmad Hussein al-Nayef
Adult male killed
Obeida Mohammed Aldagl
Age unknown male killed
Amina El-Hajj Taha
Age unknown female killed
Ahmed
18 years old male killed
Mahmoud
16 years old male killed
Abu Maher
Age unknown male killed

Geolocation notes (2) [ collapse]

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest landmark at 35.951933, 39.019327.

  • Location of the destroyed building seen before the strike on June 2, 2017 (via Amnesty International)

    Imagery:
    Amnesty International

  • Location of the destroyed building seen after the strike on June 9, 2017 (via Amnesty International)

    Imagery:
    Amnesty International

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    25
  • (1–10 children2 women5 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (12) [ collapse]

  • Image showing destruction in Raqqa due to shelling on 16th, but not necessarily specific to this incident (via RBSS)
  • Image showing destruction in Raqqa due to shelling on 16th, but not necessarily specific to this incident (via RBSS)
  • Image showing destruction in Raqqa due to shelling on 16th, but not necessarily specific to this incident (via RBSS)
  • Image showing destruction in Raqqa due to shelling on 16th, but not necessarily specific to this incident (via RBSS)
  • Image showing destruction in Raqqa due to shelling on 16th, but not necessarily specific to this incident (via RBSS)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photo showing victim killed by alleged Coalition shelling on Raqqa June 16th 2017. The picture is however not necessarily related to this specific event (via RBSS)
  • Photo showing injured child by alleged Coalition shelling on Raqqa June 16th 2017. The picture is however not necessarily related to this specific event (via RBSS)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photo showing victim killed by alleged Coalition shelling on Raqqa June 16th 2017. The picture is however not necessarily related to this specific event (via RBSS)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photo showing victim killed by alleged Coalition shelling on Raqqa June 16th 2017. The picture is however not necessarily related to this specific event (via RBSS)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photo showing victim killed by alleged Coalition shelling on Raqqa June 16th 2017. The picture is however not necessarily related to this specific event (via RBSS)
  • Photo showing victim killed by alleged Coalition shelling on Raqqa June 16th 2017. The picture is however not necessarily related to this specific event (via RBSS)
  • Ahmed Hussein Al-Nayef was reportedly killed by the contested shelling on al-Mansouri Mosque, Raqqa (via RBSS)
CJTF–OIR Declassified Assessment and Press Release

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.

Declassified Assessment Press Release

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
    Killed by strike blast
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    25
  • Stated location
    near al-Mansouri Mosque, Raqqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV015782
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Feb 28, 2019
  • 5. June 15, 2017, near Raqqa, Syria, via Amnesty International. Coalition aircraft engaged ISIS fighters, a sniper position, and multiple defensive fighting positions. Unfortunately, 25 civilians were killed due to their proximity to the targets.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

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 16th-17th the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 25 strikes engaged 21 ISIS tactical units and destroyed 34 fighting positions, three tunnels, three mortar systems, two vehicles and a VBIED facility.” It was additionally reported that “On June 16, near Raqqah, Syria, eight strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units; destroyed four fighting positions, two ISIS headquarters, two VBIED facilities, and two VBIEDs; and suppressed a sniper team.”

French Military
  • English
    /
    Original

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.

UK Military
  • English
    /
    Original

Friday 16 June – Typhoons bombed two Daesh positions in Raqqa, while Tornados and Typhoons attacked five positions in Mosul…Typhoons were again in action over Raqqa on Friday 16 June, when they bombed two further Daesh positions. Typhoons and Tornados, flying as mixed pairs, employed one Brimstone missile and four Paveway IVs to eliminate two machine-gun teams and three other Daesh strongpoints.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    25
  • (1–10 children2 women5 men)
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS273

Incident date

July 19, 2016

Location

التوخار كبير, Tokhar Kabir, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.63981, 37.98093 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

In what may have been the single greatest loss of life from a Coalition action in the first two years of its war against Daesh, between 78 and 203 civilians were reported killed in a catastrophic event at the village of Tokhar – the scene of a number of other recent civilian fatalities from alleged Coalition strikes.

The Coalition later admitted that “up to 24 civilians who had been interspersed with combatants were inadvertently killed.”

Local group Manbij Mother of All The World was the first to report the event, initially noting 25 or more fatalities. The group quickly raised the death toll to 56 then 59 civilians, eventually reporting that as many as 203 non-combatants had died. Most others placed the fatality range in the low 100s. Manbij Direct noted shortly after the strike, for example, that “so far there have been 94 martyrs identified, but there are still entire families under the rubble.” So-called Islamic State also issued a tweet mid-morning suggesting that 160 civilians had died. At least 73 deceased civilians have so far been named, including 11 or more children.

There was some confusion about the site of the event. While Manbij Mother of All Worlds said five homes were struck on the outskirts of town, most other sources said a former school being used by displaced civilians was hit.

According to Syria Direct, “The airstrike, at 3:00am Tuesday morning, destroyed a school in a-Tokhar.” The news site quoted local citizen journalist Abu Omar al-Manbiji as saying: “That school housed displaced people from neighboring villages. So far we count 124 dead from the attack, and that number could very well increase.” Others placed the event nearer 5am.

The Coalition told reporters it was aware of the Tokhar allegations and had launched a preliminary investigation.

The New York Times reported that “The Pentagon claimed that the 2016 strike had killed as many as 24 civilians, but some estimates ran much higher than that, possibly higher than 200.” Witnesses recounted to the reporter that “as the fighting between the Syrian Democratic Forces and ISIS grew more and more intense, some 200 villagers from homes near the front line trekked to the outer edge of Tokhar and took shelter in four homes, in a place far from the fighting. They assumed they would be safe there, because ISIS had not been near any of the homes. But on July 19, coalition forces carried out a series of strikes.”  The reporter put the death toll at at least 120 people killed in the Tokhar strike ad spoke with more than a dozen, who showed her debilitating injuries. “Some told me that so many people were killed that there weren’t enough young men left to pull the bodies from the rubble. It took nearly two weeks, and even then, some of the victims were never found.”

The Coalition provided this information to the NYT reporter: “A dynamic strike had been called in by a Special Operations force — I later learned from another source that it was Task Force 9 — in northern Syria. Members of Task Force 9, which was supporting the Syrian Democratic Forces, had received reports of ISIS fighters traveling in areas that were “devoid of civilians.” Concluding that the fighters were assembling for a counterattack against the S.D.F., the task force destroyed three “staging sites” and five vehicles. They were confident of having killed 85 ISIS fighters, but the assessment team later concluded that between seven and 24 civilians “may have been intermixed” with ISIS fighters. ”

The US’s proxies said they had supplied the intelligence for the strike, with the SDF noting in a statement that “a large group of Daesh militants was moving in the vicinity of the village and within Altokhar, with their vehicles and military equipment… We had received information that the village is free from civilians.”

The SDF also claimed local groups were fabricating civilian casualty claims, in order to aid ISIL and discredit Kurdish forces.

In contrast, the US’s other proxy the Free Syrian Army condemned “the horrific massacres committed – and which are still being committed – by the international coalition aircraft against unarmed civilians in the city and countryside of Manbej.”

The Assad regime-controlled SANA instead claimed French aircraft were reponsible for the deaths: “French warplanes working as part of the so-called ‘international coalition’ led by the United States over the territory of the Syrian Arab Republic committed an illegal and bloody massacre (which is an affront to humanity) near the Syrian-Turkish border. They targeted with a violent aerial bombardment the village of Greater Tokhar, a peaceful village located in the northern outskirts of the city Manbej – exterminating entire families and flattening homes in an inhumane manner.”

In a case study issued in October 2016, it was noted that “Satellite imagery from 21 July 2016 analysed by Amnesty International indicates nine locations in which houses were severely damaged or destroyed – although given other fighting and air strikes in the area they cannot be conclusively linked with the same air strikes.” The international NGO added that “The attacks appear to have been conducted without adequate precautions taken to safeguard civilians and may have amounted to indiscriminate or disproportionate attacks.”

And following its own lengthy investigation, the Syrian Network noted: “SNHR documented the killing of 98 civilians, including 59 children and 27 women, in a bombing by fixed-wing international coalition forces warplanes on Al Toukhar village.”

On December 1st the Coalition issued a lengthy statement in which it conceded it had killed civilians – though far below public estimates: “During a strike that killed nearly 100 ISIL fighters, and destroyed 13 fighting positions, seven ISIL vehicles, two VBIEDs, a tactical vehicle, and a mortar system, it is assessed that up to 24 civilians who had been interspersed with combatants were inadvertently killed in a known ISIL staging area where no civilians had been seen in the 24 hours prior to the attack. Reports indicated that approximately 100 ISIL fighters were preparing for a large counterattack against partnered Syrian Arab Coalition/Syrian Democratic Forces and, unknown to Coalition planners, civilians were moving around within the military staging area, even as other civilians in the nearby village had departed over the previous days”

In July 2019 the Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Khaled Al Nasser
Age unknown male killed
Nasim Al Nasser
Age unknown male killed

Family members (7)

Mahmoud Abdurrahman
Age unknown male killed
Samiya Al Shaikh Mousa,
Adult female Wife of Mahmoud Abdurrahman killed
Nisreen Mahmoud Abdurrahman
Adult female killed
Batoul Mahmoud Abdurrahman
Child female killed
Eman Mahmoud Abdurrahman
Child female killed
Maher Mahmoud Abdurrahman
Child male killed
Enas Mahmoud Abdurrahman
Child female killed

Family members (8)

Bakkar Al Ramadan
Age unknown male killed
Ramadan Bakkar Al Ramadan
Child male killed
Mohammad Bakkar Al Ramadan
Child male killed
Mahmoud Bakkar Al Ramadan
Child male killed
Ibrahim Bakkar Al Ramadan
Child male killed
Raghad Bakkar Al Ramadan
Child female killed
Duha Bakkar Al Ramadan
Child female killed
Khalaf Bakkar Al Ramadan
Child male killed

Family members (8)

Hasan Ibrahim Al Ousi
Age unknown male killed
Zreifa Al Ousi
Adult female Wife of Hasan Ibrahim Al Ousi killed
Abdou Hasan Al Ousi
Child male killed
Mohammad Hassan Al Ousi
Child male killed
Mahmoud Hasan Al Ousi
Child male killed
Na’iema Hasan Al Ousi
Child female killed
Eman Hasan Al Ousi
Child female killed
Zahra Hasan Al Ousi
Child female killed

Family members (17)

AbdulMalek Rajab Qaso
Age unknown male killed
Gharam AbdulMalek Qaso
Child female killed
Fa’eda AbdulMalek Qaso
Child female killed
Nagham AbdulMalek Qaso
Child female killed
Mohammad AbdulMalek Qaso
Child male killed
Qusai Rajab Qaso
Age unknown male killed
Houriya Mohammad Rajab Qaso
Age unknown female killed
Rihana
Adult female Wife of Loai Rajab Qaso killed
Qusai Loai Rajab Qaso
Child male killed
Ghosoun Loai Rajab Qaso
Child male killed
Hayat Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir
Adult female killed
Odoula Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir
Adult female killed
Yaser Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir
Child male killed
Dahiya Mowelid Qaso Al Saghir
Adult female killed
Mohammad Rajab Mowelid Qaso
Child male killed
Mais
Adult female Wife of Mohammad Mowelid Qaso killed
Yaser Mohammad Mowelid Qaso
Age unknown male killed

Family members (14)

Sanaa Mowelid Al Kabir
Adult female killed
Fatouma Mowelid Al Kabir
Adult female killed
Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir
Age unknown male killed
Wife of Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir
Adult female killed
Son of Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir
Child male killed
Daughter of Ahmad Mowelid Al Kabir
Child female killed
Daughter of Mohammad Moweld Al Kabir
Child female killed
Daughter of Mohammad Mowelid Al Kabir
Child female killed
Daughter of Mohammad Mowelid Al Kabir
Child female killed
Hayat Muhajeri
Adult female Wife of Qasim Mowelid killed
Mohammad Mowelid Qasim Al Kabir
Child male killed
Doaa Qasem Mowelid Al Kabir
Child female killed
Son of Qasom Mowelid Al Kabir
Child male killed
Ghofran Qasim Mowelid Al Kabir
Child female killed

Family members (17)

Abd Mawwas Al Abd
Age unknown male killed
Sukaina
Adult female Wife of Abd Mawwas Al Abd killed
Sham Abd Mawwas Al Abd
Age unknown female killed
Mayyada Abd Mawwas Al Abd
Child female killed
Fatouma
Adult female Wife of Mawwas Al Abd killed
Second wife of Mawwas Al Abd
Age unknown female killed
Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd
Child male killed
Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd
Child male killed
Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd
Child male
Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd
Child male killed
Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd
Child male killed
Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd
Child male killed
Child, son of Mawwas Al Abd
Child male killed
Haloum Al Abd
Adult female Sister of Mawwas Al Abd killed
Child, son of Halloum Al Abd
Child male killed
Child, son of Halloum Al Abd
Child male killed
Child, son of Halloum Al Abd
Child male killed

Family members (8)

Mohammad Suliman Al Thaher
Child male killed
Ammar Suliman Al Thaher
Child male killed
Yaser Suliman Al Thaher
Child male killed
Daughter of Suliman Al Thaher
Child female killed
Walid Al Thaher
Child male killed
Daughter of Suliman Al Thaher
Child female killed
Rehab Al Thaher
Child female killed
Daughter of Suliman Al Thaher
Child female killed

Family members (3)

Amina Al Mawwas
Age unknown female Wife of Hussein Al Saleh killed
Khaled Hussein Al Saleh
Age unknown male killed
Aziza Mohammad Haj Saleh
Child female killed

Family members (2)

Nadwa
Age unknown female Wife of Jasim Al Bakkar killed
Ahd Jasim Al Bakkar
Age unknown female killed

Family members (2)

Daughter of Mohammad Abu Ibeid
Child female killed
Marwa
Age unknown female Wife of Mohammad Abu Ibeid killed

Family members (2)

Hadi Kamel Hasan Al Sattou
Child male killed
Amouna
Adult female Wife of Kamel Hasan Al Sattou killed

The victims were named as:

Fatima Qaso
Adult female killed
Fa’eda
Adult female killed
Yasmin
Adult female killed
Maha
Adult female killed
Child, son of Saeed Al Ahmad
Age unknown male

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 36.6398429, 37.9810023

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    School
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    78 – 203
  • (25–71 children7–29 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    30
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    85

Sources (65) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victims of an alleged Coalition strike near Manbij July 19th are buried in a mass grave (via Manbij Mother of All Worlds)

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
    Unseen at time of engagement
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    24
  • Stated location
    near Manbij, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SDA089554
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Dec 1, 2016
  • July 18, 2016, near Manbij, Syria: During a strike that killed nearly 100 ISIL fighters, and destroyed 13 fighting positions, seven ISIL vehicles, two VBIEDs, a tactical vehicle, and a mortar system, it is assessed that up to 24 civilians who had been interspersed with combatants were inadvertently killed in a known ISIL staging area where no civilians had been seen in the 24 hours prior to the attack. Reports indicated that approximately 100 ISIL fighters were preparing for a large counterattack against partnered Syrian Arab Coalition/Syrian Democratic Forces and, unknown to Coalition planners, civilians were moving around within the military staging area, even as other civilians in the nearby village had departed over the previous days.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For July 18th-19th 2016 the Coalition reported. “Near Manbij, 18 strikes struck 15 separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed 13 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL mortar system, seven ISIL vehicles, two ISIL vehicle borne improvised explosive devices, an ISIL staging area, and an ISIL tactical vehicle.”

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian infrastructure
    School
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    78 – 203
  • (25–71 children7–29 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    30
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    85

Sources (65) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI716

Incident date

May 16, 2017

Location

الزنجيلي, Mosul, Zanjili, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.35162, 43.11436 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Local media and residents reported that 20 civilians were killed and seven houses were destroyed after airstrikes targeted armed ISIL combatants in Zanjili neighborhood, in West Mosul. The strikes were launched opposite the mosque of al-Shaheed Muhammad Nuri. Sawlf Ateka said that the Coalition had targeted a car bomb, which was located at the Hamid Al-Akla garage in Zanjili neighbourhood.

However, Ninawa Media Center reported that ISIL had launched a drone from the roof of the house, after which an airstrike targeted it.

The US-led alliance later accepted responsibility for 20 deaths in the event. In September 2018 their monthly civilian casualty report noted: “During a strike on
ISIS fighting positions, a VBIED facility and a command and control center, twenty civilians were unintentionally killed.”

Local Facebook group ‘Sawlf Ateka’ reported that airstrikes had caused the death of the “Ramzi family and Hassan and Ammar Al-Qassasib and their families and Mohammed Al-Tamimi and his wife and Yunis Abu Ali Al-Fitar and wife of Muhannad Al-Aqla and her children.”

The Ninawa Media Center provided further details, and said that this information was obtained through a friend who had visited the area and asked the residents of the houses. He decribed the incident as follows:

“Seven members of the Ramzi family, the owner of this poor house, died, six from the apartment next to them [the Ramzi family] of a family who rented the house … and Mohammad Ghazi, brother of Jajan, and his wife [were] at home, in exchange for … There are many wounded and dead of whom we do not know their fate… The house is located at the roundabout nearby the house of Sheikh A. I heard [that it is located] in front of the mosque of Imam Mohamed Nuri….”

The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Hassan Al-Qassasib
Adult male killed
Ammar Al-Qassasib
Adult male killed

The victims were named as:

Mohammed Al-Tamimi
Adult male killed
Yunis Abu Ali Al-Fitar
Adult male killed
Mohammad Ghazi
Adult male Brother of Jajan killed

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest neighbourhood/area at 36.3502851, 43.1098795

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    20
  • (2 children2 women5 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (6) [ collapse]

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
    20
  • Stated location
    near al-Zangili neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SLF308246
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 27, 2018
  • May 16, 2017, near al-Zangili neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via Airwars report. During a strike on ISIS fighting positions, a VBIED facility and a command and control center, twenty civilians were unintentionally killed.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For May 15th-16th the Coalition publicly reported: “Near Mosul, five strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units; destroyed nine fighting positions, two mortar systems, to medium machine guns, two VBIEDs, two ISIS-held buildings, two VBIED facilities, and a supply cache; damaged 13 ISIS supply routes and nine fighting positions; and suppressed three ISIS tactical units and two mortar teams.”

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    20
  • (2 children2 women5 men)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI060

Incident date

April 20, 2015

Location

الموصل‎, Mosul, Aden, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.35132, 43.21243 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

A reported Coalition airstrike on an electricity generating facility reportedly killed up tp 35 civilians and injured 22 more when nearby apartments were caught in the blast, according to reports.

The US led Coalition later conceded 18 deaths in this event.

At the time of the incident, NINA cited a medical source at the hospital as saying: “The incident resulted in the death of 35 civilians, including 11 women, and wounding 22 others, including five women.”

Local resident Mohanad Musli described “tens of flattened bodies with families still under the rubble”. Another eyewitness, Bassam al Khaldi, said that multiple strikes had also targeted rescuers: “I’m from this area and when people gathered to rescue the wounded there was shelling for a second time on people, and this caused big losses. And after quarter of an hour they struck a third time, but by the mercy of God this time the missile did not explode.”

A Mosul-based eyewitness to the event later provided graphic images of civilian casualties to Airwars, including a picture of four dead children.

Between April 2016 and June 2017, New York Times reporters Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal visited the sites of nearly 150 airstrikes across northern Iraq. Regarding this specific incident, they note that, “On the evening of April 20, 2015, aircraft bombed an electricity substation in the Aden district of East Mosul, causing a tremendous explosion that engulfed the street. Dozens of residents had come to the site of the airstrike to rescue civilians, which resulted in the deaths of at least 18 civilians, and injuries to at least a dozen civilians, many who lived down the street. Muthana Ahmed Tuaama, a university student, told us his brother rushed into the blaze to rescue the wounded, when a second blast shook the facility. “I found my brother at the end of the street,” he said. “I carried him.” Body parts littered the alleyway. “You see those puddles of water,” he said. “It was just like that, but full of blood.”

In July 2017 the Coalition initially denied responsibility on grounds of available evidence of civilian harm: “April 20, 2015, near Adan, Iraq, via Airwars report: After a review of available information and strike video it was assessed that there is insufficient evidence to find that civilians were harmed in this strike.”

Later, on June 28th 2018, the Coalition changed its position and admitted it had unintentionally killed 18 civilians in the strike. The assessment stated: “During a strike on Daesh IED factory, 18 civilians were unintentionally killed.“

The Coalition later provided Airwars the location of the strike, accurate to within a 100 metre box, placing it in the industrial area of Adan neighbourhood in east Mosul.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Brother of Muthana Ahmed Tuaama
Adult male killed

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

  • Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    18 – 35
  • (4 children11 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    22–50
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    ISIS

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (10) [ collapse]

  • Aftermath of the alleged strike
  • Photos of the alleged incident provided by an eyewitness, resident in Mosul that Airwars made contact with by phone on 20/04/2015. They were taken by his brother who lives in the neighbourhood that was bombed
  • Photos of the alleged incident provided by an eyewitness, resident in Mosul that Airwars made contact with by phone on 20/04/2015. They were taken by his brother who lives in the neighbourhood that was bombed
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of the alleged incident provided by an eyewitness, resident in Mosul that Airwars made contact with by phone on 20/04/2015. They were taken by his brother who lives in the neighbourhood that was bombed
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of the alleged incident provided by an eyewitness, resident in Mosul that Airwars made contact with by phone on 20/04/2015. They were taken by his brother who lives in the neighbourhood that was bombed
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of the alleged incident provided by an eyewitness, resident in Mosul that Airwars made contact with by phone on 20/04/2015. They were taken by his brother who lives in the neighbourhood that was bombed
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of the alleged incident provided by an eyewitness, resident in Mosul that Airwars made contact with by phone on 20/04/2015. They were taken by his brother who lives in the neighbourhood that was bombed
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of the alleged incident provided by an eyewitness, resident in Mosul that Airwars made contact with by phone on 20/04/2015. They were taken by his brother who lives in the neighbourhood that was bombed
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of the alleged incident provided by an eyewitness, resident in Mosul that Airwars made contact with by phone on 20/04/2015. They were taken by his brother who lives in the neighbourhood that was bombed
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photos of the alleged incident provided by an eyewitness, resident in Mosul that Airwars made contact with by phone on 20/04/2015. They were taken by his brother who lives in the neighbourhood that was bombed

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
    18
  • Stated location
    near Aden neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SLF396244
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jun 28, 2018
  • April 20, 2015, near Aden neighborhood, Mosul, Iraq, via media report. During a strike on Daesh IED factory, 18 civilians were unintentionally killed.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

On April 19th-20th the coalition reported four strikes in the vicinity: “Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL staging area, destroying four ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL armored vehicle and an ISIL excavator.”

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    18 – 35
  • (4 children11 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    22–50
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    ISIS

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI610

Incident date

April 5, 2017

Location

الشفاء, Mosul, Shafa, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.35356, 43.12323 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Local sources reported that 16 civilians were killed and many were injured in Coalition and Iraqi government airstrikes on Al-Shafaa neighbourhood in West Mosul.

In September 2019 the Coalition accepted responsibility for this incident. Its monthly civilian casualty report noted: “Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against a Daesh mortar position. Regrettably, 16 civilians were unintentionally killed as a result of the strike.”  The Pentagon later declared this to have been a US event.

Sawalef Maslaweya (Facebook) reported unspecified shelling “on the Church of the Virgin Mary and the Nineveh Health Department in the Shifa’a neighborhood, and a house opposite to the Nineveh Health [Department], and 16 members of one family were killed at home.” Mosul Breaking News said “others were injured”. Iraqyoon Agency and Iraqi Spring Media Center also put the death toll at 16 and said they were killed in an airstrike.

Yaqein Agency initially reported one dead and three wounded, but in a later article it spoke of “more than 25 killed and more injured” due to Iraqi government and Coalition airstrikes, though this report also seemed to include a strike in Rifai neighbourhood (see following incident).

In May 2020, in its annual civilian harm report to Congress, the Pentagon declared this to have been a US action – which it also said involved both air and ground forces.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest neighbourhood/area at 36.3534304, 43.1174326

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    16 – 25
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–25
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    ISIS

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Local sources reported airstrikes in Al-Shafaa neighbourhood, West Mosul, which allegedly killed more than 25 civilians, including a family of 16 (via Sawalef Maslaweya, Facebook)
  • Table from May 2020 Pentagon report to Congress, conceding additional US civilian harm events in Iraq and Syria during 2017.
CJTF–OIR Declassified Assessment and Press Release

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.

Declassified Assessment Press Release

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
    16
  • Stated location
    in Al Shafa, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SLF316248
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 26, 2019
  • April 5, 2017, in Al Shafa, Iraq, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against a Daesh mortar position. Regrettably, 16 civilians were unintentionally killed as a result of the strike.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For April 4th-5th the Coalition publicly reported: “Near Mosul, seven strikes engaged six ISIS tactical units; destroyed two mortar systems, two command and control nodes, a supply cache, and a fighting position; damaged nine supply routes and a bridge; and suppressed 10 ISIS mortar teams and two ISIS tactical units.”

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    16 – 25
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–25
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    ISIS

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS734

Incident date

April 26, 2017

Location

الثورة‎, Tabaqah, al Zouikat, Raqqa, Syria

Geolocation

35.81925, 38.53727 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Sixteen named civilians including eight children and five died in an alleged Coalition airstrike near the Al A’jrawi roundabout in Tabaqa, according to local media.

In January 2019, the Coalition accepted responsibility for the event, noting: “ Coalition aircraft engaged with what was positively identified as an ISIS defensive position on the balcony of a house, containing five ISIS combatants. Regrettably, unknown to Coalition observers, 16 civilians were inside the house, and were unintentionally killed when it collapsed as a result of the second strike.”

The Smart News Agency, reported that likely Coalition airstrikes killed seven civilians, including three children and a woman, and injured 12 others. It said that the strikes occurred “on the Zoueikat neighborhood and near the town’s roundabout.”

According to Mohab Naser, “Coalition planes committed a terrible massacre a few days ago in All Tabaqa after targeting a residential home with three families inside it north of aAl A’jrawi roundabout in the city, which led to the deaths of 16 martyrs most of them women and children. Their bodies are still under the rubble.”

The Syrian Network for Human Rights said that 15 members of the same family including eight children and five women were killed by “Coalition missiles”.

Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently named 16 victims.

In September 2017, Human Rights Watch published a field study of the event. It said the attack occurred at coordinates 35.820467, 38.537615 at 11pm-11:30pm on April 25th or 26th, and added the following:

“Local residents told Human Rights Watch that there was heavy fighting between SDF and ISIS on April 25 and 26 in the area around the al-‘Ajrawi roundabout located at the southern entry of Tabqa.They said that ISIS fighters were moving through the streets and using at least one house in the neighborhood to attack the advancing SDF forces. Around 11:30 p.m. on April 25 or 26, they said, an airstrike hit a residential house where the al-Jasem family was hiding. The al-Jasem house was located across the street from the house ISIS was using. The witnesses said they were hiding in their homes at the time of the strike so they were not able to say whether ISIS was present on top of or near the al-Jasem home. Human Rights Watch visited the site. The damage to the house is consistent with damage from an airstrike.

By the following morning, SDF were in control of the area. Local residents said that they collected the bodies of sixteen civilians, including nine children, from the targeted house several days after the attack. They provided Human Rights Watch with the names of the casualties and showed Human Rights Watch the place where they were buried.

In response to questions from Human Rights Watch, the CJTF press desk said that coalition forces conducted precision strikes in the vicinity of the location provided. On September 18 the press desk said that the CJTF was still assessing whether the strike resulted in civilian casualties.

The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (14)

Mariam Ali Al Jassem
9 years old female killed
Khaled Ali Al Jassem
5 years old male killed
Qais Ali Al Jassem
16 years old killed
Loulou Ali Al Jassem
14 years old killed
Fawza Ali Al Jassem
38 years old female killed
Saja Mustapha al Jassem
11 years old female killed
Fadia Mustapha al Jassem
6 months years old female killed
Nour Mustapha Al Jassem
7 years old female killed
Mariam Mohammad al Jassem
44 years old female killed
Ali Mohammad al Jassem
47 years old male killed
Hala Ali al Jassem
9 years old female killed
Hussein Ali al Jassem
17 years old male killed
Fatima ahmad al Jassem
20 years old female killed
Fahima Ahmad al Jassem
44 years old female killed

The victims were named as:

Bushra al Milhem
39 years old killed
Mustapha al Jassem al Obeid
40 years old male killed

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest town at 35.8295049, 38.5360909

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    16
  • (8 children5 women2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • A residential house in Tabqa city that was hit by a coalition airstrike April 25 or 26, 2017, in an attack that killed 16 civilians, including nine children © 2017 Ole Solvang/Human Rights Watch
  • Graves of 16 civilians, including nine children, killed in a coalition airstrike on April 25 or 25, 2017, in Tabqa city. © 2017 Ole Solvang/Human Rights Watch

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
    Killed by secondary explosion(s)
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    16
  • Stated location
    near al-Ajrawi roundabout, Tabqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SDV582640
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jan 31, 2019
  • Apr. 26, 2017, near al-Ajrawi roundabout, Tabqah, Syria, via Airwars report. Coalition aircraft engaged with what was positively identified as an ISIS defensive position on the balcony of a house, containing five ISIS combatants. Regrettably, unknown to Coalition observers, 16 civilians were inside the house, and were unintentionally killed when it collapsed as a result of the second strike.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For April 25th-26th, the Coalition reported: “Near Tabqah, six strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units; and destroyed four fighting positions and a fuel truck.”

For April 26th-27th, the Coalition reported: “Near Tabqah, four strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units and destroyed three fighting positions”.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    16
  • (8 children5 women2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    12
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI397

Incident date

January 6, 2017

Location

حي الزراعي, Mosul: Agricultural District, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.3556426, 43.1410058 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Local sources initially said that a family of three children and their grandmother were killed after their house was hit by a missile during Coalition raids on the Agricultural residential neighbourhood in central Mosul area, which at the time was under ISIS control. The New York Times later put the overall death toll at 16. In September 2020, the Coalition admitted that a strike had been conducted on January 6th 2017 against “a Daesh facility”, killing sixteen civilians and injuring three.

Mosul Ateka’s Facebook page reported at the time that a boy named Rafi Ahmed Mahmoud Al Rashidi was killed together with his two sisters and their grandmother, while they were asleep in their beds at dawn on 6th January 2017. A relative said in an associated comment that they were killed in a “bombing by a plane”.

Raedlay posted a video, which was later deleted, showing the effects of what was reported as a US airstrike. In a later post, it put the death toll at seven.

Initially, in its May 2017 casualty report, the Coalition denied responsibility, noting: “Jan. 6, 2017, near Mosul, Iraq, via social media report: After a review of available information and strike video it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in this geographic area that correspond to the report of civilian casualties.”

Between April 2016 and June 2017, New York Times reporters Azmat Khan and Anand Gopal visited the sites of nearly 150 airstrikes across northern Iraq, as part of their investigation for the New York Times Magazine. This was one of the events they investigated.

As Khan and Ghopal told Airwars: “Early on 1/6/17, airstrikes struck three family homes next to each other near the Saddam Mosque in Mosul. ISIS snipers had been been using the Mosque, but the homes were full of civilians, and 16 civilian men, women and children died.

“In the first home, where the family of Zuhair Hekmat was living, 9 civilians were killed.”

“In the second home, where Col. Riadh Adnan and his family were living, 3 civilians were killed, and two family members survived.”

“And in the third home, where Rafi Al Iraqi was living, 4 civilians were killed. Rafi Al Iraqi survived, as did his 10-year-old son, Muhammad Rafi Mahmud. Adnan Riyad Adnan and Abdullrahman Riyad Adnan also survived, although they had serious injuries.”

A later New York Times interview with survivors provides more details: “The target was a house assessed to be used exclusively as an ISIS “foreign fighter headquarters” and “artillery staging location.” But the blast destroyed several nearby homes as well, killing 16 civilians. Among them were three of the children of Rafi al-Iraqi, a local trader from a leading Maslawi family. The only survivors of the strike, besides al-Iraqi, were his mother and his 12-year-old son. This was the second tragedy to befall the family. A year earlier, al-Iraqi’s wife was killed by ISIS.”

In response to new information, the Coalition reopened their assessment of the event. In the second of their September 2020 civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition stated: “Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against a Daesh facility. Regrettably, 16 civilians were unintentionally killed and three civilians were unintentionally wounded as a result of the strike.”

The incident occured around dawn.

The victims were named as:

Family members (9)

Zuhair Hekmat family member 1
Age unknown killed
Zuhair Hekmat family member 2
Age unknown killed
Zuhair Hekmat family member 3
Age unknown killed
Zuhair Hekmat family member 4
Age unknown killed
Zuhair Hekmat family member 5
Age unknown killed
Zuhair Hekmat family member 6
Age unknown killed
Zuhair Hekmat family member 7
Age unknown killed
Zuhair Hekmat family member 8
Age unknown killed
Zuhair Hekmat family member 9
Age unknown killed

Family members (5)

Col. Riadh Adnan family member 1
Age unknown killed
Col. Riadh Adnan family member 2
Age unknown killed
Col. Riadh Adnan family member 3
Age unknown killed
Col. Riadh Adnan family member 4
Age unknown injured
Col. Riadh Adnan family member 5
Age unknown injured

Family members (6)

Rafi Ahmed Mahmoud Al Rashidi
Child male killed
Rafi Al Iraqi family member 2
Age unknown killed
Rafi Al Iraqi family member 3
Age unknown killed
Rafi Al Iraqi family member 4
Age unknown killed
Rafi Al Iraqi
Adult male injured
Muhammad Rafi Mahmud
10 years old male Son of Rafi al Iraqi injured

Family members (2)

Adnan Riyad Adnan
Age unknown male injured
Abdullrahman Riyad Adnan
Age unknown male injured

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest neighbourhood/area at 36.3559188, 43.1460571.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    16
  • (3 children1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–6
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Known target
    ISIS

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • Rafi Ahmed Mahmoud Al Rashidi (via Mosul Ateka)
  • Rafi al-Iraqi, who lost three of his children in Coalition strikes on Mosul on January 6, 2017. (Image from New York Times)

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
    16
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    3
  • Stated location
    in Mosul, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SLF332250
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 9, 2020
  • May 3, 2017
  • Jan. 6, 2017, near Mosul, Iraq, via social media report: After a review of available information and strike video it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in this geographic area that correspond to the report of civilian casualties.

  • Jan. 6, 2017, in Mosul, Iraq, via New York Times report. Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike against a Daesh facility. Regrettably, 16 civilians were unintentionally killed and three civilians were unintentionally wounded as a result of the strike. 301 38SLF332250

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For January 5th-6th, it noted: “Near Mosul, three strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units; destroyed three ISIL-held buildings, three supply caches, two mortar systems, a fighting position, and a VBIED; damaged 24 supply routes; and suppressed two mortar teams.”

Unknown Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Unknown
  • Unknown position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    16
  • (3 children1 woman)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3–6
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected attacker
    Unknown
  • Known target
    ISIS

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS863

Incident date

May 25, 2017

Location

ميادين, Al Mayadin, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Geolocation

35.01979, 40.45123 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Airwars assessment

Between 15 and 40 civilians including two to five children and one to three women died, and up to 15 more were injured, in airstrikes on multiple locations in Al Mayadeen. Local sources were initially conflicted as to whether this was the work of the Coalition, Iraqi warplanes or Russia.

However, in April 2018 the Coalition claimed responsibility for the event:  “It was assessed that during a strike on an ISIS media center and headquarters 15 civilians were unintentionally killed.”

In an interview with ITV News in summer 2019, British ISIS fighter Alexanda Kotey claimed that up to 40 people died when a single apartment block [presumably the al-Dahmoush building, see below] was bombed that day – including a notorious British ISIS supporter Sally Jones, known as the ‘White Widow’, and her 12-year-old son Jojo.

Many sources, including Euphrates Post, the Syrian Network for Human Rights and the Smart News Network, initially reported the death of four non-combatants on May 25th. Other sources, however, put the death toll higher, with the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reporting that up to 35 civilians died, including many family members of IS.

According to the Syrian Observatory, “Reliable sources confirmed to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights that the strikes on the Dahmoush building have killed 26 other people at least, most of them are from the families of the organization’s members, others were injured and went missing due to these airstrikes. The Syrian Observatory learned that those who were killed, injured and missing belonged to 7 families of members of the ‘Islamic State’ organization”.

On May 30th Euphrates Post also reported “The death of the mother of Saddam, the wife of Hussein al-Hamad al-Arrouk, who was injured by the raids that targeted the city of Al-Mayadeen a few days ago. She joins her husband, her sons, her daughter and her grandson.”

The Observatory documented a number of strikes by Coalition jets: “At 7:25 pm two warplanes accompanied by two drones hovered in the sky of Al-Mayadin city, coinciding with citizens’ entry to the city’s mosques. Both warplanes carried out 4 strikes using 4 consecutive rockets, the first two rockets targeted the 4-storey al-Dahmoush building, which housed family members of the ‘Islamic State’ organization of Syrian and Moroccan nationalities. It was destroyed completely, and the raid killed a man and 2 women and a baby from Al-Mayadin. A second raid targeted the market of the city, which killed a woman, her 2 children and 2 other children. The number of Syrian people who were killed has become 9, including 5 children and 3 citizen women.”

Arabic.rt also put the death toll at 35 and blamed the Coalition.

However, Zamanalwsl pointed towards Iraqi warplanes.

Two other sources – Alaraby and @abojannarawi201 said that Russia was responsible.

According to Alaraby, Russian warplanes carried out three strikes, and “one of the raids targeted the market of the Office of the vicar in the city centre, and civilian homes resulted in the deaths and injuries.”

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights later reported: “The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights received information from reliable sources about the presence of Ryan Meshaal in al-Dahmoush building 3 hours before it was targeted by the International Coalition; at 7:25 in the evening of Thursday the 25th of May 2017, while the Syrian Observatory can’t confirm whether Ryan Meshaal [one of the founders of IS media agency A’amaq] is among those who were killed by the airstrikes that targeted the building and killed 26 persons of the organization’s families, also the airstrikes caused injuries and some people gone missing, where the Syrian Observatory learned that those who were killed, injured and lost belong to 7 families of the Islamic State organization’s members.”

The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a 100-metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (2)

Mohammed Abdul-Wahab Al-Aziz
Adult male killed
Wife of Martyr Mohammed Abdul Aziz
Adult female killed

Family members (2)

Wife of Muhannad Rahbi
Adult female killed
Mohamad Muhanad Waka’ al Rahbi
Child male Baby son of Muhannad Rahbi killed

The victims were named as:

the mother of Saddam
Adult female wife of Hussein al-Hamad al-Arrouk killed
Jojo Jones
12 years old male Son of Sally Jones, aka the 'White Widow' killed

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

  • 37SFU324762

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    15 – 40
  • (2–5 children2–3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10–15
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (37) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • The child Mohamad Muhanad Waka’ al Rahbi alleged killed with his mother in shelling by the Coalition forces on al Mayadeen city in Deir Ez-Zour, May 25, 2017 (via SN4HR May 25th 2017).
  • The child Mohammad Muhannad al Rahbi who was killed with his mother in shelling by the Coalition forces on al Mayadeen city in Deir Ez-Zour, May 25, 2017 (via Euphrates post on November 26th 2018).

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
    15
  • Stated location
    near Al Mayadin, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFU324762
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Apr 26, 2018
  • May 25, 2017 near Al Mayadin, Syria via Airwars report. It was assessed that during a strike on an ISIS media center and headquarters 15 civilians were unintentionally killed.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For May 24th-25th, the Coalition reported: “Near Dayr Az Zawr, one strike destroyed an ISIS barge.“
For May 25th-26th, the Coalition reported: "Near Dayr Az Zawr, five strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit; destroyed seven ISIS oil trucks, four ISIS barges, an ISIS well head, a command and control node, and an ISIS headquarters."

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    15 – 40
  • (2–5 children2–3 women)
  • Civilians reported injured
    10–15
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (37) [ collapse]