Decode how US-led bombing destroyed Raqqa, Syria

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Total contributions
Total decoders involved
Total buildings
100% completed
Each building analysed by multiple decoders

Project Results

Total contributions

This effort helped us analyse over 11,000 damaged features.


Put together as a standard movie, this would be over 23 hours of footage!

Decoders involved

That’s enough decoders to reach more than halfway up Mount Everest! (If they were standing on top of each other)


Most Decoders came from United Kingdom, Nigeria, Pakistan, Denmark, Netherlands, US, Bangladesh, France, Portugal, and Canada.


That’s the equivalent of someone working full-time for nearly 2 ½ years.

Discussion Forum

Pageviews of the Amnesty Decoders discussion forum


Number of posts to the Amnesty Decoders discussion forum during the project

What’s next?

With the help of thousands of Decoders, we have narrowed down the time window for damage for many buildings in Raqqa, from several months to a few days in many cases.

This data will be combined with on-the-ground research by Amnesty International, and evidence of strikes collected by Airwars, to build up a thorough picture of the US-led Coalition civilian harms in Raqqa in 2017. The interactive report using all of this information is expected to be published in April 2019.

Watch this space for an upcoming report and interactive visualisation of the results.


Raqqa, the most destroyed city in modern times

The US-led Coalition’s four-month military operation to oust the Islamic State (IS) armed group from the city of Raqqa (Syria) killed and injured thousands of civilians and destroyed almost 80% of the city.

In the aftermath of the battle, Amnesty International’s researchers carried out extensive field investigations in Raqqa. They interviewed survivors and witnesses, examined material evidence and corroborated it with expert military and geospatial analysis. After initial denials, the Coalition admitted responsibility for almost all the cases we documented to date.

But we needed to investigate many more cases, to pressure the Coalition to take responsibility for the deaths and destruction caused by its bombardments and to empower victims’ families to seek justice.

Thousands of volunteers helped us do this by decoding the thousands of strikes that left Raqqa in ruins. They used a phone/computer to look through satellite images of Raqqa to pinpoint when buildings were destroyed.


Establishing the timeframe of destruction

UN data shows more than 10,000 buildings in Raqqa were destroyed or damaged over the course of the battle. This scale of civilian devastation is simply too large for us to analyse alone.

With the help of thousands of ‘Strike Trackers’, we can establish precisely when and where strikes destroyed buildings and map out the apocalyptic destruction in Raqqa.

Anyone with a mobile phone or computer could contribute. Decoders’ task was to track a building across a timeline of satellite images, looking for change and pinpointing the dates before and after the building’s destruction. To get volunteers ready, we prepared an interactive tutorial to and get feedback. There was also a ‘Help’ section to see more examples and a forum where you could ask our moderators and researchers for help.


Amnesty International, in partnership with Airwars, has been conducting the most comprehensive assessment of civilian deaths resulting from US-led bombings in Raqqa.

The data you produced will help our investigation by linking visible damage to the city’s buildings with coalition strikes and casualty reports gathered by our researchers and partners. This evidence will put pressure on the US-led Coalition to properly investigate all civilian deaths, paving the way for justice and reparation.


Strike Tracker was the sixth Amnesty Decoders project. Amnesty Decoders is a global network of digital volunteers for human rights research. Already there are more than 50,000 volunteers from more than 150 countries.

Strike Tracker is part of an investigation into civilian deaths resulting from US-led airstrikes in Raqqa, Syria conducted by Amnesty International in partnership with Airwars.

Strike Tracker uses data about damage in Raqqa, Syria from the UNITAR Operational Satellite Applications Program - UNOSAT.

This project was developed in collaboration with Focal Labs. Powered by Hive, a modular, flexible, open-source platform developed by the New York Times and Discourse, an open-source discussion platform.

Amnesty International would like to thank all the volunteers who have helped so far with this project. Shout out to our moderators@hanny123, @LindatheMod, @Shazeah-Elah. And a special thank you to our most active community members @alexvidal, @Bayzid, @CHICKMELION, @Dodo, @Dove7, @Fritz, @Ile, @johnsmith, @Marquisatea, @Martinnn, @Owen, @SAMI_LOGAN, @seauf, @sherif22, @Stampystamper, @Wyjjoi, and many others for their dedication in decoding tasks, and their passionate, helpful discussion on the forum. Decoders is people power at its best and we truly couldn't have done it without you.


Here’s an example video of doing a task.

Get involved

Be part of an international community of digital volunteers and help Amnesty International map out devastating destruction in Raqqa, Syria.