Airwars.org is a collaborative, not-for-profit transparency project aimed both at tracking and archiving the international air war against Islamic State and other groups, in both Iraq and Syria. With a dozen Coalition nations reportedly bombing – along with the air forces of Russia, Iraq, Iran and Syria – there is a pressing public interest need for independent, trustworthy monitoring.
As we explain more fully in our Methodology, in addition to tracking the strikes we also seek to report – and where possible follow up on – credible allegations of civilian casualties. Part of our data is drawn from US, allied and Russian militaries, which is then cross-referenced against claims of civilians killed.
Thanks to generous funding from the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, we employ a part-time specialist in Iraq to monitor aspects of the air campaign there. We also employ a part-time Syrian analyst based in the UK. Funding from the Open Society Foundation allows us to employ a part time web and data person. And we have also received a small project grant from the Oxford Research Group.
Airwars.org fully supports the goals of Every Casualty, the international NGO which campaigns for the recording of victims by all parties to conflicts. As its simple mission statement notes: ‘Governments must ensure that all lives lost to armed violence, anywhere in the world, are properly recorded.’ We are also pleased to be a part of the associated Casualty Recorders Network, an international alliance which strives for best practice among its 50 members.
London-based investigative journalist Chris Woods leads the Airwars project. A specialist in conflict and national security issues, Woods worked for the BBC’s Newsnight and Panorama as a senior producer for many years. He also set up and ran the Bureau of Investigative Journalism’s award-winning Drones Project. His book, Sudden Justice: America’s secret drone wars charts the history of armed drone use in Iraq since 9/11.
Our website and its data engines and graphics are designed and maintained by French data-journalist Basile Simon, who presently works with the BBC News Labs. Basile has also assisted the Bureau’s Naming the Dead project, and he has worked with the Centre for Investigative Journalism on teaching info-sec.
Latif Habib is a Baghdad-based researcher and journalist who monitors and follows up for us reports of civilians killed in Iraq by Coalition airstrikes. Latif has worked as a researcher and field producer for many major international news organisations, including the BBC, the UK’s Channel 4, Al Jazeera English, Al Arabiya and ABC News.
Based in London, Kinda Haddad is a Dutch-Syrian journalist who monitors claims of civilian casualties from Coalition and Russian airstrikes in Syria for Airwars.org. A former BBC Panorama journalist, Kinda is also the founder of Bulbula, which seeks to improve the representation of expert Middle Eastern women in the media.
Tom Dale is a journalist and film-maker who’s worked extensively with VICE News. Since the Arab Spring he’s reported from across the Arab world - including Iraq and Syria. His work has also appeared in The Independent, Africa Confidential and The Guardian. As an Airwars volunteer, Tom is assessing Turkish airstrikes against the Kurdish PKK.
Based in London, Alex Hopkins is responsible for archiving official military reports of war, working with our data sets, assessing alleged Russian strikes in Syria, and maintaining our social media profiles. Alex has worked as an editor for a number of print and online publications and is a sub-editor for the Guardian and Observer’s syndicated news services.
Mapping of the Coalition Iraq and Syria airstrikes is based on original modelling by the Danish daily newspaper Dagbladet Information, an early collaborator with the Airwars project.