Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

LC052

Incident date

December 5, 2016

Location

سرت‎, Sirte, Libya

Geolocation

31.190547, 16.571441 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Campaign overview: The United States began a major air campaign in support of and at the request of GNA ground forces, to oust ISIS from the city of Sirte.

Complete official records of the US campaign at Sirte – which saw 497 airstrikes on the city to December 5th 2016 – can be found here.

Individual civilian harm allegations are dispersed across the following months.

Overall reported civilian harm for the Sirte campaign: During the 2016 joint US/GNA Sirte campaign, reporting on civilian casualties was extremely scarce, as the GNA/Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous forces had cut most forms of communication coming from the city while advancing. Single sources occasionally reported civilian harm – but often neither clearly identified the date nor the belligerent for an event, making it hard to clarify whether the US, GNA or ISIS was responsible for the civilian harm.

On November 11th 2016, France 24 quoted Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous spokesman Rida Issa saying: “The subject of civilians is also very dangerous, our fighters hear their screams from houses whenever there is shelling, we do not know their numbers, but they are prevented from leaving, so the remaining area must be treated with great caution.”

On December 16th, Elkul reported on Facebook that the Misurata Central hospital had received 47 injured children and 16 injured women during the whole campaign. He added that 720 GNA fighters were killed and 3,200 injured.

On December 21st MC Doualiya reported that “dozens of bodies are still under the rubble, the smell is very foul and it is feared that it will cause diseases such as plague,” quoting a local citizen, “they were trapped in the rubble. There are terrorists, but also women and children who died of hunger and thirst under the rubble.”

In July 2017 Al Aan TV showed images of refrigerators allegedly containing the bodies of civilians, including women and children, and ISIS fighters killed in the Sirte campaign, estimating them at “hundreds.” Many families reportedly refused to take the bodies of their relatives.

Other sources such as Al Jazeera or Al-Bunyan Al-Marsous also confirmed that bodies of fighters were still under the rubble.
Aghad TV showed images of civilians, including children, being rescued from the rubble of collapsed buildings. The report says that 230 bodies of dead fighters were uncovered in the Giza neighbourhood but didn’t elaborate on numbers of civilian casualties.

Afrigate News published a report on September 11th 2017 on the fate of the families of ISIS fighters where it mentioned that eleven bodies of civilians were uncovered from the rubble and 50 people were severely injured.

Note: individual Sirte civilian casualty events are reported on by date where known 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    30 – 50
  • Civilians reported injured
    63
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA), United States Armed Forces

Sources (15) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • Al Aan TV interviewing a woman from Sirte stating that ISIS used civilians as human shields
  • Fatima Troy recounts details of the last days of the Sirte campaign and said that civilians were trying to flee the city
  • Al Aan TV investigates the fate of the bodies of civilians and ISIS fighters in Sirte
  • Images: Alghad TV

Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA) Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA)
  • Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA) position on incident
    Not yet assessed

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Not yet assessed

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    30 – 50
  • Civilians reported injured
    63
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected attackers
    Government of National Accord Armed Forces (GNA), United States Armed Forces

Sources (15) [ collapse]