Monitoring and assessing civilian harm from airpower-dominated international military actions. Seeking transparency and accountability from belligerents, and advocating on behalf of affected non-combatants. Archiving open-source casualty reports, and military claims by nations.
An Iraqi man rushes his son for medical treatment during the Battle of Mosul. (Maranie R. Staab)
Our monitoring of civilian harm
Airwars closely monitors conflicts, to help improve understanding of how recent wars have impacted on civilians. Our regional researchers track local civilian harm allegations from news outlets and social media, with a present focus on Iraq, Syria and Libya. Other sources we monitor include international and local civic society groups; military reporting; and claims by non-state actors. Together, our monitoring helps reveal what civilians themselves are experiencing during times of war.
Airwars assesses each civilian harm incident to determine who was allegedly killed or injured, and by which belligerent. As a transparency organisation, we archive every known source, including associated imagery. All assessments are published in our growing civilian casualties database, alongside the names of thousands of reported victims. Since we began in 2014, we have tracked and assessed tens of thousands of reported civilian deaths in conflicts.
Our primary aim at Airwars is to help reduce harm to civilians. We do this both by improving public knowledge of how battlefield casualties occur; and by working where we can with militaries – helping them to improve their own understanding and admission of where, when and how civilians are harmed. Our advocacy team also engages with politicians and with broader civic society, to ensure civilian harm issues are given the highest priority.
Airwars works closely with journalists and researchers in the field - helping them to better identify reported civilian harm claims. And we also incorporate their findings into our own research - ensuring we build up as comprehensive a picture of battlefield casualties as we can. Through partnerships with major news organisations, our investigators have also published numerous in-depth reports on civilian harm - which in turn can help change public and political understanding.
The project Conflicting Truth commemorates civilians killed and injured in conflicts, by livestreaming the names of more than eight thousand civilian casualties Airwars has documented in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Somalia in recent years. The digital event marked the occasion of the UN’s May 2020 Protection of Civilians Week.
“The US military’s initial, stubborn insistence this was a ‘righteous strike’ raises fundamental questions about why commands so routinely ignore reports of tragedies from affected communities,” says Chris Woods, director of Airwars. https://t.co/7lPAfjjirK
There are likely thousands of recent historical events in which the US and its close allies killed civilians - their deaths then officially denied. It shouldn’t need multiple media investigations to have DoD properly review and identify civilian harm. https://t.co/QMzRlvwGHw
Children already account for half of civilian deaths reported this month in Idlib as a result of alleged Russian airstrikes; 4 of 8 killed. This includes Majed Al-Din Ghafir. Hadaf Kindergarten posted a tribute. https://t.co/epIN5pIadEpic.twitter.com/a5Zv5aeA0N