35 civilians died in alleged US-led Coalition strikes on the city of Raqqah, according to local media.
In the first week of February, a number of local sources reported on the exhumation of bodies from “the area south of Al Ma’ari school”. More bodies were found and after a query from an Airwars researcher, RBSS stated that more than 35 civilians had been present in the building when the airstrike took place. A number of these bodies could however not be identified due to the heavy decomposition.
On February 14th RBSS reported that the bodies of four children and their father were recovered “two days ago from the building next to the school of Al-Ma’ari.” Included in the report were photos of the family’s grave and a document reading their names.
In a video by France24 Khaled Khalaf al Salama’s wife, who survived the bombardment, mentions that she has also lost her mother, sister and niece. RBSS confirmed to Airwars that they were all killed in the same airstrike.
On April 4th, local sources reported that another four bodies were taken from under the rubble “in a building next to Al-Ma’ari school”. Euphrates Post did not specify the date on which the people died, only mentioning that they were killed “during the recent campaign against the city.” Still, only 27 of the 35 civilians that were killed in the incident have been found at this same location – making it likely that the four recently exhumed persons were killed in the same bombardment.
In a May 2nd interview with Arab24, a rescuer who is standing at the location of the incident, states that “Most of the bodies we are pulling out are unidentified. There were about 200 bodies that were identified, we handed those over to their families.” Later, he addresses that in al Ma’ari area, “we have pulled out about 20-25 bodies. Some of them were identified and others remain unidentified.” Due to the heavy bombardments in the area around that time, Airwars researchers cannot determine if these bodies are related to this specific incident.
It should be noted that in a private correspondence with Airwars researchers, RBSS stated that the Badou neighbourhood was targeted heavily around the time of this incident. This event may be related to S1352a as it is located in the same neighbourhood. However, Airwars researchers have indicated that Al Ma’ari school and the water well mentioned in S1352a are in different areas – making them two separate incidents.
This incident was initially assessed as being related to an October 3rd incident in Raqqa (S1396b). Further research found that the bombardment was dated September 25th. Airwars researchers created this separate incident on March 1st.
The local time of the incident is unknown.
The victims were named as:
Family members (5)
- Khaled Khalaf al Salama Adult male Father killed
- Hussein Khaled al Salama Child male Child killed
- Farah Khaled al Salama Child female Child killed
- Mohammad Khaled al Salam Child male Child killed
- Najah Khaled al Salama Child female Child killed
Sources (14) [ collapse]
from sources (3) [ collapse]
US-led Coalition Assessment:
Civilian casualty statements
Jun 28, 2018
After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area that correspond to the report of civilian casualties
Original strike reports
For September 24th-25th, the Coalition reported: “Near Raqqah, 27 strikes engaged four ISIS tactical units and destroyed 29 fighting positions, three vehicles; and suppressed a fighting position.” It additionally reported that “On Sept. 24, near Raqqah, Syria, three strikes destroyed an IED, an ISIS fighting position and 11 vehicles.” And that “On Sept. 24, near Raqqah, Syria, one strike destroyed an ISIS fighting position.”