The establishment of a permanent Netherlands-based advocacy office in the autumn of 2016 provided Airwars with a key opportunity to focus on improving transparency and public accountability with both the government and military in the Netherlands – while encouraging a broader European engagement on the issue of civilian harm. Airwars Stichting was registered in September
Volunteer with us Airwars began as an all-volunteer organisation in 2014 – and volunteers continue to play a vital role in our work. Our Board and Advisory Board give generously of their time and knowledge for example, comprising specialists from the conflict countries we monitor, along with experts in fields including munitions analysis, civilian casualty
As a UK-registered not for profit company limited by guarantee, Airwars is run day-to-day by its Director. Their activities are overseen by a volunteer Executive Board, who are accountable to their staff and volunteers. The leadership team can also call on the expertise of the Advisory Board – a pool of high-skill, pro bono advisers.
Jessica Dorsey is based in the Netherlands where she is the voluntary Chair of Airwars Stichting and is also seconded to the UK Board. She is an Assistant Professor of International and European Law at Utrecht University, an Associate Fellow at the International Center for Counter-Terrorism—The Hague and Managing Editor of the international law blog Opinio Juris. Jessica is an expert in many academic and policy networks focused on the use of armed drones, with a specific emphasis on the use of force, and the interplay of humanitarian law and human rights with efforts to counter terrorism. In 2017 for example, the European Parliament contracted Jessica to publish a study outlining policy guidance for the use of armed drones for Member States.
Aditi Gupta is the Director of Policy for Protection Approaches, a UK based organisation dedicated to tackling identity-based violence. She is also the co-founder of the Minorities in Peace and Security Network, and was formerly the Director of the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Modern Conflict. Aditi is a recognised leader in the fight against intersectional inequalities endemic in the professional fields of peace, security and prevention.
Ayah Al Zayat
Ayah Al Zayat has a decade of experience in the humanitarian field, both as a researcher specialising in migration, and in senior positions leading research teams in conflict-affected countries to improve aid delivery. Ayah has worked in advocacy, particularly on Libya and refugee protection, influencing key decision-makers through research and building accountability into the work. After 6 years of experience leading teams in North and West Africa at IMPACT Initiative and providing strategic and technical advice to country teams, Ayah is currently an Accountability Specialist at IMPACT Initiatives in Geneva, working on mainstreaming inclusive and participatory research design processes. Ayah assists the board with human resources strategy.
Craig Lind is a retired academic lawyer who remains an honorary researcher at the University of Sussex in Brighton. Although his research is in the realms of family law, he has degrees in Accounting and Economics and Law, and taught Public Law and Politics for most of his teaching career.
Jesse is the Interim CEO at Videre Est Credere, a non-profit organisation supporting persecuted communities to use customised technology to document human rights violations. Prior to this he held positions in both London and Washington D.C. with the Institute for War and Peace Reporting, focusing on promoting freedom of expression and access to information in conflict-affected and closed societies. He began his career in human rights with Global Witness, and worked in Sri Lanka for the Neelan Tiruchelvam Trust during the final stages of the country’s civil war to protect local human rights defenders and support civil society development. Jesse holds a MA in International Studies and Diplomacy from the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) at the University of London.
James Hirst is the volunteer Treasurer of the Board. He assists with the financial administration and oversight of Airwars, and supports the Director on finance-related issues. James is a journalist specialising in conflict, international affairs; and UK politics. As a correspondent for the British Forces Broadcasting Service (BFBS), which serves UK Armed Forces communities around the world, he has extensively covered the Afghanistan conflict, including 10 months living and working alongside British troops in Helmand Province. He is now based in Westminster reporting on, and providing analysis of, British defence decision making.
Katy Dent has over 25 years’ experience of providing Human Resources leadership in a range of not-for-profit organisations, including homelessness charities Centrepoint and St Mungo’s Community Housing Association; international aid NGO MERLIN and the South Bank Centre. For ten years she was Human Resources Director of Arts Council England, and currently works as an HR Transformation Consultant for a variety of charities. She has been a Trustee for a variety of counselling, health and arts charities: at present she is a Trustee of Anti-Slavery International. Currently she sits as an Employment Tribunal Panel Member and is a Fellow and member of the HR Leaders’ Network of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.
Raed Jarrar is an Iraqi-American conflict casualty expert, who is currently Director of Advocacy at Democracy for the Arab World Now (DAWN). He has previously worked as the Middle East and North Africa Advocacy Director at Amnesty International USA. Since moving to the US in 2005, he has worked on political and cultural issues pertaining to US engagement in the Arab and Muslim worlds. During 2003 whilst working for CIVIC in Baghdad, he conducted a survey of civilian casualties from the invasion of Iraq.
Christopher Kolenda is a protection of civilians specialist, with a military background. Founder of the Strategic Leadership Academy, he recently served as the Senior Advisor on Afghanistan and Pakistan to US Under Secretary of Defense Michèle Flournoy, and three 4-star Generals in Afghanistan. He was decorated with the Department of Defense’s highest civilian award for his work on strategy. A veteran of four combat tours in Afghanistan, Chris holds a PhD in War Studies from King’s College, London: his dissertation is a critical analysis of American strategic leadership in post-9/11wars.
Frederik Rosén is a collateral damage expert, and was most recently a Senior Researcher at the Danish Institute for International Studies. He is the author of Collateral Damage. A Candid History of a Peculiar Form of Death (Hurst , 2016), which offers a comprehensive perspective on the question of State responsibility for collateral damage victims. He has written widely on global security, and is currently directing a larger policy development project for NATO.
Basile Simon is a multi-disciplinary researcher bridging between engineering, law, and journalism in promoting accountability for causing harm to civilians. He leads the law program at the Starling Lab for Data Integrity out of Stanford and USC, and is a resident with the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR) in the cross-NGO investigative group Forensis.
He co-founded Airwars alongside Chris Woods in the first few weeks after the commencement of the Coalition’s bombing campaign in 2014, and now provides strategic and technical advice to the organisation.
Rim Turkmani is a Senior Research Fellow with the Centre for Civil Society where she contributes research to the Conflict Research Programme on the Syrian war economy, and the role of Syrian civil society in brokering peace and creating stability from the bottom up. She is active in Syrian civil society circles, where she works to promote peace and democratic transition in Syria. She previously directed the project Crowd-sourcing Conflict and Peace ‘Events’ in the Syrian conflict which produced a detailed database of instances of violence and peace-making. Dr Turkmani is an Astrophysicist by training and was formerly at Imperial College and a fellow of the Royal Society. Her wider research interests include the history of Islamic science and culture and the impact of Arabic/Islamic science on the scientific revolution of the 17th century.
Chris Cobb-Smith is a munitions and security expert who served in the British Army from 1975 until 1995. In 1996 he joined UNSCOM where he led the investigation team in the search for claimed WMDs in Iraq. In 1998 Chris deployed with the OSCE to Kosovo, where he conducted investigations into potential war crimes. Chris now advises senior media management on safety and security policy and training, and has set up Chiron Resources to provide support to news crews on assignments. He has conducted a number of high profile investigations for the media into combat related events, particularly those culminating in the deaths of journalists, and for NGOs into alleged war crimes and human rights violations.
Airwars is a not-for-profit transparency watchdog which tracks, assesses, archives and investigates civilian harm claims in conflict-affected nations. Founded in 2014, by Chris Woods and Basile Simon, we are today a leading authority on conflict violence as it affects civilian communities. Our mission: To reliably and independently document the human cost of war in order to
Emily is the Director of Airwars. Since 2021 she worked as our Research Manager, and took over the leadership of the organisation in June 2022 from founder and former director Chris Woods. Her previous experience includes working in humanitarian aid delivery in the Middle East, with a focus on carrying out research and managing assessment teams in Syria and Libya to help inform humanitarian responses.
Joe leads our Investigations and Accountability Unit. Joe has a decade of experience living and working in the Middle East, including as Chief Correspondent for the Palestinian Territories for AFP. His role is to carry out in-depth investigations and lead major media partnerships across a variety of conflict-related topics.
Clarie joined Airwars as our Head of Research in October 2022. She previously worked as a Middle East Researcher for the French Office for the Protection of Refugees and Stateless Persons. Her expertise is in qualitative and quantitative analysis related to the protection of civilians, as well as in data management.
Shihab Halep is our Senior Conflict Researcher, leading our local open source research teams. A refugee from Aleppo, he is our Syria specialist – with extensive experience monitoring and researching strikes from foreign actors in Syria (such as Russia and the US-led Coalition); Shihab additionally oversees and trains our monitoring teams for Libya, Somalia, Yemen, and Iraq.
Kathrin is our Operations Coordinator. Kathrin has worked on building systems for community-led organisations, with extensive experience both internationally and in London.
Anna is a Conflict Research consultant based in the US currently working on casualty assessments across multiple conflicts and belligerents, and began with Airwars as a volunteer in 2018. She has an MA in American foreign policy and international economics from Johns Hopkins SAIS, and has previously worked in communications and political campaigning.
Clive is our Open Source Research Lead. Originally starting with Airwars as our geolocation specialist, Clive has worked across our conflict portfolio verifying the locations of strikes and answering spatial questions internally and externally. He now leads our geospatial department, supplementing the work of both our investigations team and research teams to provide advanced analysis and innovate our practices. Clive holds an MA from the Centre For Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, University of London.
Salim Habib is a Baghdad-based Conflict Researcher and journalist who monitors and follows up for us reports of civilians killed and injured in Iraq by US-led Coalition air and artillery strikes; as well as monitoring reports of civilian harm resulting from Turkish actions in northern Syria, and Kurdistan/ northern Iraq. Salim has worked in Iraq 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
Megan is our Policy Specialist, working across the US, the UK, and several European countries. She previously worked as a Conflict Researcher and Advocacy Officer at the Oxford Research Group’s Remote Warfare Programme and has extensive experience as an organiser within migration-focused projects.
Sanjana Varghese is an investigator in our Investigations and Accountability Unit. She graduated with a degree in Research Architecture with a studio in Forensic Architecture, from the University of Goldsmiths. She has previously worked as a freelance journalist for a number of publications, including WIRED, The New Statesman, and The Economist.
Duncan joined the geolocation team as a volunteer at the start of 2021, and is now working with Airwars as a geolocation researcher. He has also previously worked as a campaign organiser and engineer. Duncan graduated with an MA from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths, and his research is concerned with the geo- and biopolitics of precaritisation.
Iryna Chupryna started as a Conflict Researcher for Airwars in December 2022. A war refugee from Ukraine, previously she was engaged in various media monitoring projects focusing, among other things, on the monitoring of Russian war propaganda. She graduated with MSc in International Public Policy from the University College London.
Yulia has been working as a Conflict Researcher at Airwars since 2022. She has an MA in Psychology from the National Pedagogical Dragomanov University. Previously, she worked in the creative field with international non-governmental organizations.
Azul De Monte
Azul De Monte (she/they) is a visual artist, researcher, and designer. With a BA in Image and Sound Design from the University of Buenos Aires and an MA in Art Praxis from the Dutch Art Institute, Azul’s focus is on translating investigations into audiovisual forms that efficiently portray their processes and conclusions. Azul has been working with Airwars since November 2022.
Rowena De Silva
Rowena is an open source researcher working in the geolocation team. She previously worked with the Airwars Investigations and Accountability Unit on an Investigative Research Fellowship, as well as with Forensic Architecture and the Clooney Foundation for Justice. Rowena received her MA from the Centre for Research Architecture at Goldsmiths in 2023.
James works with Airwars as a volunteer Developmental Consultant, focusing on researching and identifying potential funders and special projects, and supporting Airwars’ strategic development. He is located in the US and has been with Airwars since 2017. James holds a BS degree in Community Health Administration and Planning, focusing on financial modelling and healthcare data analytics, and holds additional certifications in studies of forced migration. James’ most recent role was with a regional healthcare organisation as Vice President of Strategic Planning, where he also managed the corporate foundation.
With thanks to our 2023 volunteers
Alice Lindsay, Aya Wazaz, Brian Osgood, Eleonora Sobrero, Joe Murphy, Jordan Smolinsky, Martha Greenhough, Richard Quinlan, Samuel Doak, Alice Smith, Steve Pine, Reine Radwan, Aimee Johnson, Austin Graff, Nitish Vaidyanathan, Alexander Royall, Anna Bailey-Morley, Luca Poletti, Niamh Gillen
Flavia Palladino, Rowena De Silva, Claire August, Lisa Maillard, Faye Harvey, Siufan Adey, Fine Bieler, Tamara Keller, Avery Schmitz, Joel Schülin, Finn Steffens, Sam Storey
A special thanks to those supporting our emergency Gaza efforts:
Brian Osgood, Jordan Smolinsky, Martha Greenhough, Richard Quinlan, Samuel Doak, Alice Smith, Steve Pine, Avery Schmitz, Reine Radwan, Nitish Vaidyanathan, Anna Bailey-Morley, Niamh Gillen, Jessica Beecham, Tamsin Paternoster, Rachel Yi, Julia Spence, Hannah Brown, Alex Drew, Sanjna Girish Yechareddy, Elise Wolters, Stuart Duncan, Lorenza Inserra, Ralph Outhwaite, Finlay Jones, Geeta Kiran Gunjal, Florence Woolley, Linda Sánchez, David Shrestha, Poppy Wallis, Lily Donahue, Alexander Royall
Airwars is a not for profit company limited by guarantee, registered in England and Wales. We are funded by philanthropic organisations and by public donations, along with significant pro bono contributions from our volunteers. Our key supporters include the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, which since 2015 has supported Airwars in its monitoring of civilian harm.
Airwars is a member of the Casualty Recorders Network – part of Every Casualty Counts. Our methodology has been assessed as highly conformant with Every Casualty’s Standards for Casualty Recording. We track and assess claims of casualties and ‘friendly fire’ deaths from international military actions – primarily air and artillery strikes. We also monitor and
Help us document civilian harm We are currently seeking donations to enable us to expand our local language teams to keep up with the unprecedented pace of harm allegations in the Gaza Strip. Link to our Paypal here In the short term, by building a trusted evidence base we are able to feed into live
Airwars compliance with the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) Airwars regards the lawful and fair treatment of personal information as very important to our successful operations, and to maintaining confidence between our team and all those who use and access our services. What information will we collect, and how will we use it? We