Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

CI367

Incident date

December 10, 2016

Location

Al Ashwa, Nineveh, Iraq

Airwars assessment

A Coalition or Iraq government airstrike on a vehicle killed one civilian and injured others, according to a Human Rights Watch investigation.

According to HRW a strike on a vehicle at al Ashwa, 80 kilometres from Mosul in December 2016 killed one civilian named and wounded 11 others. It said the apparently unlawful attack, in an area held by Islamic State, was most likely carried out by the Coalition or Iraqi government forces.

According to the report interviews with six witnesses to the attack and aftermath uncovered no evident ISIS target in the vicinity. Both the Iraqi military and coalition forces were conducting airstrikes and ground-based attacks in areas outside of Mosul, but Human Rights Watch was unable to identify the attacking force or the weapon used. The laws of war prohibit deliberate or indiscriminate attacks against civilians.

Attacking forces are obligated to take all feasible precautions to avoid harming civilians, including by first identifying the military target, said Lama Fakih, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. The large numbers of families on the move in the ISIS-held territory are especially vulnerable to attacks.

The NGO also noted that Because of the possible laws-of-war violation, all government forces involved in the attack should conduct a thorough, impartial, and transparent investigation to determine whether it was unlawful… The governments should pursue war crimes prosecutions as appropriate and pay compensation or amends to victims. Under Iraqi law, a governmental committee is empowered to provide payment to victims of ‘terrorism and military errors.

In their June 2020 civilian casualty report, the US-led Coalition assessed reports that they were responsible for civilian harm in this strike as “non-credible”, stating that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area at that time.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

  • Salah Ali Age unknown male via HRW killed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    11
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Iraq government forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    No Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SKE615880
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jun 24, 2020
  • Dec. 10, 2016, in Ashwa, Iraq, via Airwars report. After a review of all available records it was assessed that no Coalition actions were conducted in the geographical area that corresponds to the report of civilian casualties. 3077/CI367 38SKE615880

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For December 10th-11th, the Coalition reported “Near Mosul, four strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units; destroyed seven front-end loaders, three fighting positions, two ISIL-held buildings, two tractor trailer trucks, a vehicle, a land bridge, and three tunnels; damaged six tunnels; and disabled two bridges.”

Iraq government forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Iraq government forces
  • Iraq government forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    11
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    US-led Coalition, Iraq government forces

Sources (1) [ collapse]