Research

Research

Published

May 2024

Written by

Anna Zahn, Emily Tripp, Joe Dyke, Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen and Rowena De Silva

The US has declared that its military actions in 2022 resulted in no civilians killed or injured, the first such release since a landmark policy intended to overhaul American practices and approaches to civilian harm across the globe.

▲ US military actions in 2022 involved an increase in support for partner forces, often including airdrops (Photo: U.S. Army)

Incident Code

CI882

Incident date

December 25, 2023

Location

حي الجزائر, Algeria region, Hilla, Babylon Province, Babil, Iraq

Airwars assessment

On the 25th of December, 2023, a declared U.S. airstrike was conducted against the headquarters of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) in Hilla, central Iraq, reportedly injuring two female civilians: Shadhadan Karim Mirza, and Wasnah Maher Kahem. One member of the PMF was also killed and up to 19 other members of the PMF and other militant groups were injured.

On the 25th of December, the White House released a statement revealing that President Biden had “directed strikes against three locations utilized by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups focused specifically on unmanned aerial drone activities”.

On December 26th, US Central Command (CENTCOM) posted an acknowledgement on X / Twitter that “in response to multiple attacks against Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, U.S. military forces launched airstrikes on multiple facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and its affiliated groups in Iraq at around 8:45 PM (EST) on December 25th”.

During the course of the day on December 26th, Al-Jazeera stated that the US strikes had “killed one member of the Iraqi security forces and wounded 18 people, including civilians”, whilst ‘The New Arab’ reported that “at least one person was killed and 20 wounded in a U.S. strike that targeted a site belonging to the Iran-backed PMF (Hashed al-Shaabi) forces in the central city of Hilla”.

Several local news organizations also reported on the airstrike. Altaakhi News reported that “the number of wounded among the Hashd reached 8 members, in addition to killing one of them, 8 wounded from the Academy Police, two wounded from the rescue service and one wounded from the Civil Defense, in addition to the wounding of two civilians”. An identical statement on the bombing was made by ‘Observer Iraq’ and also by Rudaw News, which additionally posted a video showing the site of the bombing. On the 26th of December, ‘Jabla al Habiba’ posted several images of the wounded being treated at a local hospital.

One independent journalist, Yasser Al Shommari, posted a list of names of those harmed as a result of the airstrike, including members of the police, the Hashd and civilians. The two civilians injured were described as two “housewives”: Shadhadan Karim Mirza and Wasnah Maher Kahem, born in Babel in 1972 and in 1971 respectively. On December 26th, the news website ‘Jabla Al Khair’ also posted an image showing a Babylon Health Department document (Ministry of Health). This document contained the names of those who had been wounded in the airstrike (including Shadhadan Karim Mirza and Wasnah Maher Kahem), in addition to the name of the one individual known to have been killed.

The PMF’s information directorate, in a Facebook post dated the 26th of December, identified the man killed as a member of the ‘45th Brigade’: Derih Ali Hassan Al-Amiri, and confirmed that his funeral had taken place.

US Central Command (CENTCOM) denied that any harm to civilians had occurred as a result of the airstrike, stating “there are no indications that any civilian lives were affected”.    

The incident occured at approximately 8:45 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Shadhadan Karim Mirza شهدان كريم مرزا
52 years old female injured
Wasnah Maher Kahem وسناء ماهر كاظم
53 years old female injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Iraqi militias (PMUs)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1
  • Belligerents reported injured
    18–19

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (14) [ collapse]

  • Source: Altaakhi news
  • Source: Ziad al Shimari
  • Source: Abdullah Al Shammari
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Jabla al Habiba
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Jabla al Habiba
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Source: Jabla al Habiba
  • Source: Jabla al Habiba
  • Source: Jabla al Habiba
  • Source: Jabla al Habiba
  • Source: PMF media
  • Source: PMF media
  • Source: Yasser Al Shommari
  • Source: Jabla Al Khair
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

US Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US Forces
  • US Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Original strike reports

US Forces

U.S. CENTCOM conducts strikes against Kataib Hezbollah terrorist group targets in Iraq

In response to multiple attacks against coalition forces in Iraq and Syria, U.S. military forces conducted airstrikes against multiple facilities used by Kataib Hezbollah and affiliated groups in Iraq at 8:45 p.m. (EST) on Dec. 25.

Earlier in the day, Iranian sponsored Kataib Hezbollah terrorists and affiliated groups attacked coalition forces at Erbil, Iraq resulting in several injuries.

Early assessments indicate that these U.S. airstrikes destroyed the targeted facilities and likely killed a number of Kataib Hezbollah militants. There are no indications that any civilian lives were affected. The U.S. military will continue to evaluate the effectiveness of these strikes.

"These strikes are intended to hold accountable those elements directly responsible for attacks on coalition forces in Iraq and Syria and degrade their ability to continue attacks. We will always protect our forces," said General Michael Erik Kurilla, U.S. Central Command Commander.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US Forces
  • Known target
    Iraqi militias (PMUs)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1
  • Belligerents reported injured
    18–19

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1996

Incident date

August 4, 2023

Location

مطب البوراشد, , Matab Al Bourashed, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Airwars assessment

On the 4th of August 2023, International Coalition forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) allegedly conducted an airdrop operation, which involved a ground action and helicopters, at dawn in the town of Matab Al Burashid, in Deir Ezzor, shooting and killing a civilian named Ali Abdel Hamid Al-Areed and injuring his brother.

Multiple media including RBSS, Euphrates, SOHEB, Roaaststudies published similar accounts of the incident, corroborating each other’s details. Naher Media News’ correspondent reported that the International Coalition was targeting a “displaced person” and alleged ISIS member from Deir Ezzor alias Abu Khattab. The ISIS member took refuge in Ali Abdel Hamid Al-Areed’s house and then fled without being captured. The International Coalition raided the house and shot Ali Abdel Hamid Al-Areed, and then prevented anyone from approaching the house until they had left, leaving the body of Ali in the house. Local sources claimed that the victim Ali brought Abu Khattab to the village and “settled him the house next to his house” which also belonged to Ali’s family. Baladi news, Syrian Observatory of Human Rights and Adel HR verified this account. No other information was provided about Ali.

Oِn Facebook, several people expressed their sadness over the passing of Ali Abdel Hamid Al-Areed. Abulwahab Al Ali , Ali’s uncle, announced that his nephew “the martyr Professor Ali Abdul Hamid Al-Areed” died “at dawn on Friday 4/8/2023” and added that “the condolences were at his father’s house in the village of Matab Al-Bourashid”. Murtada Ali also offered  his condolences to the Al-Barashid clan for the death of the victim. ِJabouri published on Facebook a picture of Ali Abdel Hamid Al-Areed outside, in front of a house, alongside a young girl.

Al-Khabour, @SOHEB2019 and Al Raqqa News Agency reported that in addition to the young man killed, his younger brother was wounded and was transferred to a medical point for treatment.

In a civilian casualty assessment released on November 30th 2023, the US-led Coalition has indicated that the credibility of this civilian harm allegation is in the process of being assessed.

The incident occured around dawn.

The victims were named as:

Ali Abdel Hamid Al-Areed علي عبدالحميد العريد
Adult male killed

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Graphic image of Ali Abdul Hameed Al-Areed, killed by International Coalition forces in Deir Ezzor on August 4, 2023. (Image posted by @SOHEB2019)
  • Picture of Ali Abdul Hamid Al-Areed alongside a young girl. Source: ِJabouri (Facebook)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Nov 30, 2023
  • August 04, 2023, near Matab Al Burashid, Syria, via Airwars report. 3341/CS1996/ 37SEV6054861697

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground)
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (18) [ collapse]

Published

July 2023

Written by

Anna Zahn

On the night of October 26, 2019 the US military carried out an operation against ISIS leader Abu Bakr Al Baghdadi in Syria. Local journalists reported the deaths of at least five civilians in the raid. Alongside Baghdadi’s family members and ISIS operatives within the compound, three civilians were reported harmed while passing by the Baghdadi residence at the time.

Following a freedom of information lawsuit by NPR, the US military released the partially redacted 14-page  civilian harm assessment it conducted into the incident. The document highlights fresh concerns about both the pattern of US targeting which has consistently resulted in the death and injury of civilians, and the approach to assessing and responding to civilian harm claims.

Incident Code

CS1995

Incident date

July 19, 2023

Location

تل الذهب, Tal Al Thahb in Al Dashisha, Deir Ezzor, Syria

Airwars assessment

Two brothers were killed by an operation declared by the SDF and involving the US-led Coalition in Tal Al Thahb, Al Dashisha on July 19, 2023. Sources are conflicted as to whether the men killed were civilians or members of ISIS.

Euphrates Post reported that two people, Muhammad Salem Al-Nazal (28 years old) and his brother Hammoud (25 years old), were killed during a raid carried out by the SDF and Coalition and their cousin Saleh Ahmed Al-Nazal was arrested.

Syria News quoted the local “Al-Khabour” website which stated that an SDF military force consisting of 20 vehicles raided a house in the the village of Abu Hamda in the Dashisha area, with the support of the international coalition aircraft, and clashed with a number of the villagers as well as damaging items in the house. Euphrates post gave an account that about 30 SDF vehicles participated in the operation which lasted for three areas and included drones.

The SDF announced that “On July 19, the Anti-Terrorism Units (YAT) of the Syrian Democratic Forces, with the support and participation of the Anti-Terrorism Forces in Southern Kurdistan (CTG) and the International Coalition, carried out an effective operation against a cell belonging to the terrorist organization ISIS in the town of Al-Dashisha, affiliated to Al-Shadada, where the cell was dismantled…The operation resulted in the killing of 2 members of the cell, the arrest of one of its members alive, and the seizure of a quantity of weapons and ammunition, which are as follows: 2 AK-47 weapons, 2 phones, 1 pistol, 1 bomb, 8 AK-47 magazines, 3 pistol stores, 1 quiver, 1 hunting rifle.” The US has not released a statement acknowledging their role in the operation.

Al Jazeera referred to both of the brothers, Hamoud and Muhammad, as civilians and Syria News, quoting Al-Khabour, reported that the two brothers killed worked in sheep rearing.

In a civilian casualty assessment released on November 30th 2023, the Coalition classed this event as ‘non credible’, claiming that “Based on a thorough review of all available information, the allegation was found not credible because any potentially corroborating operation affected only legitimate military targets, with no civilian casualties attributable to U.S. or Coalition Forces.”

The incident occured around dawn.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Muhammad Salem Al-Nazal (28 years old) and his brother Hammoud (25 years old), killed by SDF/Coalition operations in Deir Ezzor on July 19, 2023. (Image posted by Rasd News)
  • One of the victims killed by SDF/Coalition operations in Deir Ezzor on July 19, 2023. (Image posted by @Sharqya_reporte)
  • One of the victims killed by SDF/Coalition operations in Deir Ezzor on July 19, 2023. (Image posted by @Sharqya_reporte)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Nov 30, 2023
  • July 19, 2023, near Deir Ezzor, Syria, via Airwars report. Based on a thorough review of all available information, the allegation was found not credible because any potentially corroborating operation affected only legitimate military targets, with no civilian casualties attributable to U.S. or Coalition Forces. 3339 / CS1995 / 37SFV9349481454.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Counter-Terrorism Action (Ground), Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Causes of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions, Small arms and light weapons
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    0–2

Sources (14) [ collapse]

Published

July 14, 2023

Written by

Megan Karlshoej-Pedersen

Header Image

UN Headquarters in Geneva (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

New UN Human Rights Council study emphasises importance of casualty recording for human rights

A breakthrough United Nations report outlining the importance of casualty recording for the protection and promotion of human rights has received nearly universal support at the Human Rights Council’s 53rd session.

The report, which linked casualty recording and human rights obligations directly, received widespread support at the council on July 3rd – with 19 states and observers expressing support for the findings and recommendations. Only one state, Venezuela, expressed objections.

The study will create pressure on states – many of which have previously expressed confusion and hesitancy regarding their obligations around casualty recording – to do more to monitor the civilian impact of conflict.

Setting the tone for the Council session, the report from the High Commissioner for Human Rights recommended that states: “ensure that casualty recording systems and policies are in place and report publicly on all casualties believed to have resulted from hostilities or violence and their circumstances, including for reparations and accountability”.

If implemented, such measures would create a global best practice around casualty monitoring. There is currently little transparency about how states record casualties from their own actions, and state militaries often face accusations of undercounting the civilian impact of their actions.

In the United Kingdom, for example, the Ministry of Defence refuses to publicly disclose details on its own mechanism for casualty recording in the war against ISIS. Airwars is challenging this position in a tribunal later this year.

The importance of casualty recording 

The High Commissioner’s report emphasised; “Casualty recording is an important and effective means of delivering on a range of fundamental human rights”. The report further notes: “In addition to disciplinary and accountability measures, such information can be used to foster compliance with international law, including by changing practices and behaviour and enhancing training to this end.”

The US delegation reflected on casualty recording in Ukraine, acknowledging that: “we still do not know the full picture. For that reason, we must advance efforts to create a comprehensive casualty recording system that accounts for all casualties, both civilian and military.”

The delegation went on to emphasise that the US is keen to “aid the international community in developing a casualty reporting mechanism at the international level to contribute to equal access to justice for all”

The support for casualty recording is particularly significant in the context of other successes for civilian protections at the UN last week. In a statement welcoming the report on casualty recording, 56 states of the ‘Group of Friends of R2P’ emphasised the connection between casualty recording and atrocity prevention.

A week earlier, a resolution was adopted at the General Assembly creating an independent institution to examine the fate of all people who are missing in Syria. Since the beginning of the Syrian conflict in 2011, an estimated 130,000 people have gone missing or been forcibly disappeared.

The moves at the UN follow other international assertions on the importance of casualty recording. The Explosive Weapons Declarations, signed by nearly 90 states in November last year, urges states to “record and track civilian casualties, and [ensure] the use of all practicable measures to ensure appropriate data collection.” The US’ Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan (CHMRAP), which is widely seen as one of the most ambitious and detailed national policies on this topic, highlights that “developing standardized reporting procedures for operational data to inform civilian harm assessments …will improve DoD’s ability to mitigate and respond to civilian harm.”

The work of independent civil society organisations

Airwars has been collaborating with civil society organisations, particularly Every Casualty Counts and other partners in the Casualty Recorder’s Network, to present evidence for the Human Rights Council report over the last year.

Last year, Every Casualty also released a hard hitting report outlining the requirements for casualty recording across legal regimes. It found that “international humanitarian and human rights law contain extensive requirements regarding states’ duties to account for the dead and missing in armed conflict and other situations of gross human rights violations… these duties are universally binding on all states.”

The work of these organisations was emphasised throughout the report. On the work of Airwars, the report highlighted our work with the US military and Government in particular, highlighting that: “more than 70 per cent of United States internal inquiries into civilian casualties caused by air strikes in the Syrian Arab Republic and Iraq since 2014 have been based on casualty recording submitted by Airwars.”

The report also drew attention to the advocacy work of organisations like Airwars, writing: “…following years of advocacy and engagement based in part on [Airwars’] findings on casualties in Iraq, Libya, Somalia, the Syrian Arab Republic and Yemen, the United States Department of Defense issued the Civilian Harm Mitigation and Response Action Plan in August 2022.”

We welcome the findings of the report on casualty recording and the widespread support it received at the Human Rights Council last week. It brings clarity to the requirements on states and reaffirms, at an international level, the importance of accurately recording and reporting on casualties in warfare.

▲ UN Headquarters in Geneva (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Incident Code

CS1994

Incident date

July 7, 2023

Location

بزاعة, Bza’a, Idlib, Syria

Airwars assessment

A civilian was injured by declared US drone strikes which killed an ISIS member on July 7, 2023 on the road between Al Bab and Bza’a, Syria.

The @SyriaCivilDefe reported that a person was killed while driving a motorcycle on the road between Al Bab and Bza’a and a civilian was slightly injured while passing through the location when unknown drones carried out strikes on the motorcycle. The civil defense volunteers transferred the remains of the person killed to Al-Bab Hospital.

Local source @mzmgr941 identified the person killed as Hammam Abu Anas al-Shami, born in 1993, who was originally from the Levant, lived in Al-Hasakah, and resided near the post office in the security square of al-Hamzat in Bza’a. The source added that Hammam’s wife is Kurdish and works at Al-Farabi Hospital in Al-Bab, and his parent’s names are Yasser and Zahia. @mzmgr941 identified the person injured as Adnan Al-Dari’i.

A tweet from @a1lsharqiapost added that the person on the motorcycle was killed immediately, and that the injured civilian Adnan is from the city of Al-Hasakah.

Two days after the incident, on July 9th, CENTCOM released a statement taking responsibility for the strike: “On July 7, U.S. Central Command conducted a strike in Syria that resulted in the death of Usamah al-Muhajir, an ISIS leader in eastern Syria.” CENTCOM also acknowledged the reporting that a civilian was injured but did not admit the civilian harm: “There are no indications that any civilians were killed in this strike, and the coalition is assessing reports of a civilian injury.”

Researchers told Sky News Arabia that Osama Al-Muhajir, also known as “Anas Al-Shami” and “Hammam Al-Shami” (the name referred to above by local sources), is a prominent security cadre in ISIS who has held several important positions, including “Wali of Al-Khair Province”, which is the Deir ez-Zor region. He was among those tasked with rebuilding ISIS networks and he resided in Idlib for nearly two years, after which he moved to the “Bza’a” area near the Syrian Al-Bab region.

Both CENTCOM and local source pointed out that the drone that carried out the strike is a MQ-9s, and that earlier in the day the same drone had been harassed by Russian aircraft.

In a civilian casualty assessment released on November 30th 2023, the Coalition classed this event as ‘non credible’, claiming that “Based on a thorough review of all available information, the allegation was found not credible because the actions were not attributable to U.S. or Coalition Forces.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Adnan Al-Dari'i عدنان الدريعي
Age unknown injured

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (19) [ collapse]

  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by Waleed Post via Facebook)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @bolad_h)
  • Civil Defense volunteers with the victim of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @SyriaCivilDefe)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @bolad_h)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    ISIS leader killed by a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @bolad_h)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    ISIS leader killed by a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @bolad_h)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @alkhabour21)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @mzmgr941)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @a1lsharqiapost)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @HalabTodayTV)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @HalabTodayTV)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @HalabTodayTV)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    ISIS leader killed by a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by @DeirEzzore)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by Waleed Post via Facebook)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by Waleed Post via Facebook)
  • Victim of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by Waleed Post via Facebook)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by Waleed Post via Facebook)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by Waleed Post via Facebook)
  • Remnants of a US drone strike in Bza’a on July 7, 2023. (Image posted by Waleed Post via Facebook)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Nov 30, 2023
  • July 07, 2023, near Al-Bab, Syria, via White Helmets and Associated Press. Based on a thorough review of all available information, the allegation was found not credible because the actions were not attributable to U.S. or Coalition Forces.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Release Number 20230709-01

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

TAMPA, Fla. – On July 7, U.S. Central Command conducted a strike in Syria that resulted in the death of Usamah al-Muhajir, an ISIS leader in eastern Syria.

“We have made it clear that we remain committed to the defeat of ISIS throughout the region,” said Gen. Michael “Erik” Kurilla, commander of U.S. Central Command. “ISIS remains a threat, not only to the region but well beyond.”

There are no indications that any civilians were killed in this strike, and the coalition is assessing reports of a civilian injury.

This will disrupt and degrade ISIS’s ability to plan and conduct terror attacks. However, CENTCOM’s operations against ISIS, alongside partner forces in Iraq and Syria, will continue in order to achieve the group’s enduring defeat.

The strike on Friday was conducted by the same MQ-9s that had, earlier in the day, been harassed by Russian aircraft in an encounter that had lasted almost two hours.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    Unknown
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Cause of injury / death
    Heavy weapons and explosive munitions
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Known target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1

Sources (23) [ collapse]

Published

July 3, 2023

Written by

Anna Zahn and Clarie Alspektor

Header Image

DoD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Julian Kemper

Civil society demands transparency over latest US military civilian harm investigation

On June 29th 2023, Airwars joined 20 human rights, humanitarian and civilian protection organisations in sending a letter to Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin calling for greater commitments to transparency and due process over its on-going investigation into the May 3rd strike in Syria that killed Lutfi Hassan Masto.

Within hours of the US strike local sources reported that Masto was a civilian, not the ‘senior Al-Qaeda leader’ the US military claimed him to be.

▲ DoD photo by Air Force Staff Sgt. Julian Kemper