US-led Coalition in Iraq & Syria

Civilians in the ruins of Mosul city. (Maranie R. Staab)

Belligerent
US-led Coalition
Country
Iraq
Syria
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Confirmed
Fair
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

CI111

Incident date

September 24, 2015

Location

سنجار, Sinjar, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.31871, 41.8616 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

In a previously unknown incident, the US confirmed in January 2016 that its aircraft had killed two civilians in a strike at Sinjar four months earlier.

According to CENTCOM, “On Sept. 24, 2015, near Sinjar, Iraq, during strikes against an ISIL vehicle, it was assessed two civilians were killed. An assessed enemy combatant on a motorcycle was targeted for engagement. Weapons were released while the target was stopped at an intersection; however, another vehicle approached after weapons were in flight. Both the motorcycle and the vehicle were destroyed.”

In April 2017 the Coalition revised its position: “Sept. 24, 2015, near Sinjar, Iraq: Number 3 on the Jan. 29, 2016, U.S. Central Command press release it was reported that two civilians were killed during a strike on an ISIS vehicle. That was incorrect, it was assessed that one civilian was unintentionally killed.”

In July 2019, the Coalition provided Airwars with coordinates for the event, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest town at 36.3206914, 41.8641115

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    Entered target area just prior to or after munition released
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    1
  • Stated location
    near Sinjar, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SGA569231
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Apr 30, 2017
  • Jan 29, 2016
  • On Sept. 24, 2015, near Sinjar, Iraq, during strikes against an ISIL vehicle, it was assessed two civilians were killed. An assessed enemy combatant on a motorcycle was targeted for engagement. Weapons were released while the target was stopped at an intersection; however, another vehicle approached after weapons were in flight. Both the motorcycle and the vehicle were destroyed.

  • Sept. 24, 2015, near Sinjar, Iraq: Number 3 on the Jan. 29, 2016, U.S. Central Command press release it was reported that two civilians were killed during a strike on an ISIS vehicle. That was incorrect, it was assessed that one civilian was unintentionally killed.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For September 24th-25th 2015, the Coalition noted at the time only that “Near Sinjar, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit, destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun, and an ISIL fighting position.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI109

Incident date

September 20, 2015

Location

الموصل‎, Mosul, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.38508, 43.12135 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

A US airstrike on an ‘ISIS headquarters’ in Mosul in fact killed four members of one family – named as university professor Mohannad Al Rezzo (pictured below); his 17-year old son Najib Mohannad Al Rezzo (pictured below); his brother Bassim’s wife Miyada Rezzo and their 21-year old daughter Tuka Rezzo. The Coalition admitted the deaths 18 months later.

Other family members were also badly injured in the event: “Mohannad’s wife survived the explosion, which flung her, burned, from her second-floor bedroom to the driveway below. Mohannad’s older brother, Bassim, also narrowly survived,” according to US-based relative Zareena Grewal, writing in the New York Times. “Bassim’s pelvis and leg were shattered in the attack and require surgery, but it is his emotional pain that consumes him.”

The Coalition reported carrying out an attack on what it said was a nearby ISIL factory for IEDs, and posted video footage. According to the Nineveh Reporters Network, the raid “successfully destroyed the headquarters of the organization, but it contained a lot of materiel and weapons, causing a massive secondary explosion which damaged nearby houses.

However according to Ms Grewal, “the empty government warehouse, which the Islamic State briefly occupied until January, remains untouched.”

The New York Times on October 4th noted the following: “A spokeswoman for the United States Air Force Central Command confirmed that it became aware of a ‘civilian casualty allegation’ in Mosul the day after the airstrikes. In an email Friday, the Air Force spokeswoman, Maj. Genieve David, said Centcom was assessing the credibility of the reports, before determining any follow-on action, which might include a ‘formal investigation.’”

[See also incident CI110]

In a later January 2016 report, the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq noted: “In the early morning of 20 September, an airstrike hit the al-Ghabat area of Mosul city, as a result of which five civilians (including two women and one girl) from one family were killed. The family members were inside their home at the time, which was close to an ISIL headquarters. When that headquarters was hit, weapons and other equipment inside exploded, causing damage to nearby homes and killing the family. Other sources reported that four civilian died in the attack (a 48-year old man, a 20-year-old man, a 37-year-old woman, and a 13-year-old girl) while two civilians were seriously wounded.”

In January 2017, the Coalition reported that it was still assessing the case: “Currently, five reports of civilian casualties received in November are still being assessed: 1. Sept. 20, 2015, near Mosul, Iraq.” A senior official subsequently told Airwars “This is [the] well documented Basim Razzo case. Credibility assessment was done in 2015 but the case was never closed out.

On April 1st the Coalition finally admitted its error, noting that “During a Sept. 21 strike on what was evaluated at the time to be an ISIS headquarters building. After receiving additional information, it was assessed that four civilians were unintentionally killed and two civilians were unintentionally injured in the building.”

The event featured heavily in a major New York Times investigation – The Uncounted – which found that civilian harm events in sample areas were 31 times more likely than the Coalition was admitting.

In July 2019, the Coalition provided Airwars with coordinates for the event, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (4)

  • Mohannad Al Rezzo Adult male killed
  • Najib Mohannad Al Rezzo 17 years old male Son of Mohannad Al Rezzo killed
  • Miyada Rezzo Adult female Sister-in-law of Mohannad Al Rezzo killed
  • Tuka Rezzo female Daughter of Tuka Rezzo killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (2 children1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (5) [ collapse]

  • Najib Muhannad al-Reso (via Mosul Ateka)
  • Muhannad al Reso (via Mosul Ateka)
  • Video of the strike deleted by Coalition
  • Najib Muhannad al-Reso (via Mosul Ateka)
  • Another picture of Najib Muhannad al-Reso (via Mosul Ateka)

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest city at 36.34585235, 43.09857692

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    No reason given
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    4
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    near Mosul, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SLF315283
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Apr 1, 2017
  • Sept. 20, 2015, near Mosul, Iraq, via media report: During a Sept. 21 strike on what was evaluated at the time to be an ISIS headquarters building. After receiving additional information, it was assessed that four civilians were unintentionally killed and two civilians were unintentionally injured in the building.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Heavy Coalition strikes in the vicinity were reported for September 20th-21st 2015: “Near Mosul, nine airstrikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit, three ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL VBIED facility, an ISIL bunker, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL building, an ISIL C2 node and wounded an ISIL fighter.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • (2 children1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI110

Incident date

September 20, 2015

Location

الموصل‎, Mosul, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.34585235, 43.09857692 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

A reported coalition airstrike on an ISIL IED factory [see CI109] injured ‘dozens’ of civilians, it was claimed, after a chemical cloud spread across local areas. Waradana cited Ghias Surja of the Nineveh Union of Kurdistan National Center as saying: “The lab was used by the criminal organization for terrorist activities against the innocent and defenseless, making improvised explosive devices and rockets that contain toxic materials. After the attack a cloud spread in the sky of Mosul, wounding dozens of civilians who were transferred later to hospitals in Mosul to receive first aid.

Al Araby Al Jadeed said the chemical cloud was chlorine, which had injured 70 civilians: “A senior official in the Kurdistan Alliance, Ribawar Hassan, told al-Araby al-Jadeed: “The coalition airstrike on a chlorine gas factory in the industrial area of Mosul, has led to the gas spreading in the air, which caused 70 civilians to suffer from impaired breathing and shortness of breath in adjacent areas.”The injured were taken to hospitals,” Hassan added, stressing that “the airstrike also killed and wounded many IS members who were stationed inside these factories and workshops.”

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    70
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (4) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Heavy Coalition strikes in the vicinity were reported for September 20th-21st 2015: “Near Mosul, nine airstrikes struck a large ISIL tactical unit, three ISIL tactical units and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL VBIED facility, an ISIL bunker, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL building, an ISIL C2 node and wounded an ISIL fighter.” See video above.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    70
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI105

Incident date

September 17, 2015

Location

الحويجة, Hawijah, Kirkuk, Iraq

Geolocation

35.3240179, 43.77335 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

A reported evening airstrike by a drone at Hawijah was said to have killed five civilians and injured a further seven people.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Victims of a reported Coalition drone strike at Hawija, Iraq Sept 17th 2015

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The Coalition has confirmed a strike in the immediate vicinity for September 17th-18th 2015, noting: “Near Al Huwayjah, one airstrike with inconclusive results.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • Civilians reported injured
    7
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI104

Incident date

September 14, 2015

Location

الرطبة, Ar Rutbah, Anbar, Iraq

Geolocation

33.036997, 40.284076 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

The marketplace in Ar Rutbah was hit in an alleged Coalition airstrike according to reports, killing up to five people and injuring eight more. An adult male and a young male child were pictured among the dead.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (2 children1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    8
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (10) [ collapse]

  • Reported Coalition strike on Ar Rutbah, Sept 14 2015 (via Rutbah News)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Child allegedly injured in the attack and his lost body parts (via Iraqi Revolution)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via Iraqi Revolution)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via Iraqi Revolution)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via Iraqi Revolution)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via Iraqi Revolution)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via Iraqi Revolution)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via Rutbah News)
  • Aftermath of the strike (via Rutbah News)
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Man allegedly killed in the strike (via Rutbah News)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

No Coalition strikes were publicly confirmed in the direct vicinity for September 14th-15th 2015, though it was noted that “Near Ramadi, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL house-borne IED, an ISIL VBIED, five ISIL buildings, an ISIL vehicle and an ISIL motorcycle.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (2 children1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    8
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS125

Incident date

September 13, 2015

Location

معدان, Ma'adan, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.751769, 39.61639 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

Up to 15 Islamic State fighters, including two aged under 16, were reported killed by a Coalition airstrike 10km west of Ma’dan. The teenage boys were said to be members of the ISIL youth movement ‘Cubs of the Caliphate.’ One report said that a checkpoint was targeted.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • (0–2 children)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The Coalition has confirmed a strike at the location for September 13th-14th 2015: “Near Mar’a, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • (0–2 children)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI103

Incident date

September 10, 2015

Location

كبيسة, Kabaisa, Anbar, Iraq

Geolocation

33.59604, 42.62267 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

In a casualty event previously unknown to Airwars, CENTCOM confirmed on April 22nd 2016 that two civilians were killed and four injured during a US airstrike at Kubaisah.

According to the official release, “On Sept. 10, 2015, in Kubaysah, Iraq, near Hit, during a strike on an ISIL checkpoint, it is assessed that two civilians were killed and four were injured when their vehicle appeared in the target area after weapons were already in flight.”

A year later the Coalition issued the following correction: “Sept. 10, 2015, in Kubaysah, Iraq, near Hit: Number 1 on the Apr. 22, 2016, U.S. Central Command press release reported that two civilians were killed and four injured during a strike on an ISIL checkpoint. This was incorrect, it was assessed that four civilians were unintentionally killed and two injured.”

Secondary Airwars research uncovered three Twitter sources reporting on the incident, with one of them posting a picture of a child reportedly injured in the attack.

In July 2019, the Coalition provided Airwars with coordinates for this event, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    A child supposedly injured in the strike (via 4_001saad_omari)

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest town at 33.591421, 42.612228

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible
    The investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties regrettably occurred.
  • Given reason for civilian harm
    Entered target area just prior to or after munition released
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    4
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    in Kubaysah, Iraq, near Hit
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SKC794199
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Apr 30, 2017
  • Apr 22, 2016
  • On Sept. 10, 2015, in Kubaysah, Iraq, near Hit, during a strike on an ISIL checkpoint, it is assessed that two civilians were killed and four were injured when their vehicle appeared in the target area after weapons were already in flight.

  • Sept. 10, 2015, in Kubaysah, Iraq, near Hit: Number 1 on the Apr. 22, 2016, U.S. Central Command press release reported that two civilians were killed and four injured during a strike on an ISIL checkpoint. This was incorrect, it was assessed that four civilians were unintentionally killed and two injured.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Near Hit, one airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS123

Incident date

September 9, 2015

Location

الثورة‎, Al-Thawrah (Tabaqah), Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.8295049, 38.5360909 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Up to 20 adult civilians were reported killed and injured alongside 15 children after Coalition aircraft reportedly bombed forcibly-engaged civilians who were being forced to dig ditches by Islamic State. The children reportedly belonged to ISIL’s Cubs of Al Khilafa youth organisation. The casualties occurred in the morning at the village of Krin, west of Tabaqah, alongside an estimated 50 Daesh fighters.

Raqaa is Being Slaughtered Silently later published a report on the event: “The bombing resulted in the killing of a number of what the organisation (IS) refers to as “Cubs of the Caliphate”, in addition to more than 20 civilians who had been hired, at 2,500 Syrian pounds a day [c £13], to work on digging trenches. There were also a number of civilians who had been detained on various charges, such as smoking and failure to pray, and whose punishment was being made to dig trenches.”

SOHR placed the number of adults killed at 15, slightly lower than other sources.

There were later efforts to spread false propaganda about the strike, including images of events [GRAPHIC] which had taken place weeks earlier at Douma.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    30 – 40
  • (15 children)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (10) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • Islamic State banner reporting that more than 30 people were killed following alleged coalition raids on the village of Krin west of Tabaqah. It specifies that there were among the planes Apaches and drones. tweeted on 9th September 2015 by @journalist_omar [account now suspended]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photo of victim of alleged coalition raids on the village of Krin west of Tabaqah. Tweeted on 9th September 2015 by @journalist_omar [account now suspended]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Photo of victim of alleged coalition raids on the village of Krin west of Tabaqah. Tweeted on 9th September 2015 by @algareeb333 [account now suspended]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Twitter account @HewarMaftuh described as 'open dialogue forum by US Central Command' reveals that photos published by pro ISIL accounts claiming to show victims of coalition raids on Tabaqah were in fact showing photos from Douma. 9th September 2015

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The Coalition reported a single airstrike in the vicinity for September 8th-9th 2015: “Near Ar Raqqah, one airstrike struck an ISIL large tactical unit and an ISIL training camp and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL motorcycle.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    30 – 40
  • (15 children)
  • Airwars grading
    Fair
    Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (10) [ collapse]