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

CI874a

Incident date

January 27, 2018

Location

البغدادي , Al Baghdadi, Anbar, Iraq

Airwars assessment

Eight people including a woman and six police officers were reported killed and 20 others including two women severely injured in an alleged US-led Coalition strike on Al Baghdadi, west of Anbar province on January 27th, 2018, according to multiple local sources. Reports said that the strike “mistakenly struck a gathering of local security forces”, also killing five policemen and the director of al-Baghdadi district, Sharhabil al-Obeidi, and the police chief Colonel Colonel Salam al-Obeidi.

11 of those killed and injured belong to two families.

Dotmsr reported: “An Iraqi official announced that eight people were killed, most of them security forces, and about 20 others were wounded, including a senior officer after, an attack by an international coalition aircraft mistakenly struck a gathering of local security forces in the town of al-Baghdadi in the western Anbar province.

“The official, who asked not to be named, said that eight people, including a police intelligence officer Baghdadi and five policemen and two civilians were killed after the bombing by International Alliance aircraft in the town center”.

Altaghier.tv said that an American helicopter carried out the raid, killing “seven people and wounding 20 more”.

According to Yaqein, “US aircraft bombed a convoy of vehicles belonging to the popular crowd militia west of Anbar province, killing about 20 people, including the director of al-Baghdadi district, Sharhabil al-Obeidi, and the police chief Colonel Colonel Salam al-Obeidi.” The source add that the helicopter struck the convoy as it was “headed to the house of Sheikh Al-Obeid of the Sheikh Maadi al-Obeidi tribe, 90 km west of Ramadi.”

Mahmood Abdulkhaliq reported that an arrest was carried out as a house was raided…Iraqi Security Forces and police then arrived at the scene, and then one of the US aircraft launched a bombing on the site, which led to the death and wounding about 27 civilians and security forces, including the director of the district and the director of police Baghdadi.”

Almaalomah added that “Angry residents in Anbar province expressed their disapproval and dismay at the criminal operation of the US Air Force, which resulted in the death and wounding of more than 20 people, while calling on the Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces Haider Abadi to refer the attacking force to the international judiciary.

Mohammed al-Obeidi called on all to “condemn these acts and refer the American soldiers who committed these foolish acts to international courts “.

Local sources said the following got killed in the attack: Ghajban Naji Saadoun, Haidar Sadek Karim Makhlaf, Gheith Natik kareem, Ahmed Karim Makhlaf, Makhlaf Natik Kareem, Tahrir Mahmood, Maraw Mdi Kerb, Col.Salm Al Obeidi (Abdul Salam Al Obeidi). 

The Joint Operation Command’s Communication Unit said that the Command requested an investigation into what happened in that attack.

 

The incident occured around dawn.

The victims were named as:

Family members (5)

Family members (11)

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7 – 8
  • Civilians reported injured
    11–20
  • 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
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5–8

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Images shared by Naynawa Alghad in the aftermath of a US led coalition airstrike on a gathering of local security forces in al-Baghdadi, Al Anbar, Iraq on January 27th, 2018.
  • Images shared by Naynawa Alghad in the aftermath of a US led coalition airstrike on a gathering of local security forces in al-Baghdadi, Al Anbar, Iraq on January 27th, 2018.
  • Aftermath of an alleged US-led coalition airstrike on a gathering of local security forces in al-Baghdadi, Al Anbar, Iraq on January 27th, 2018.

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Clarification: The Joint Operations Command has received accurate intelligence about the presence of a terrorist leader, Kareem'Abat Ali al-Sammarid, in a house in al-Baghdadi district to meet with a terrorist cell preparing to carry out operations against security forces and citizens. On the basis of this information, a force from the 8th Infantry Brigade was immediately assigned and air support from the International Alliance aircraft to raid the scene, arrest the wanted terrorist, and after the raid and arrest of the terrorist Karim Afat Ali Al-Samramd. During the search and collection of evidence, A neighboring house, which was called to respond quickly and then withdrew to the headquarters of the departure of the force and on the way back, a group of gunmen was observed without coordination with the force in charge of duty, where they targeted aircraft holding the force was carried out at 0200 hours on Saturday 27 January 2018 Wu Hut Joint Special Operations Command to open an investigation of the incident and bring you details later.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    7 – 8
  • Civilians reported injured
    11–20
  • 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
  • Suspected target
    ISIS
  • Belligerents reported killed
    5–8

Sources (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI290a

Incident date

September 20–23, 2016

Location

الشوره, Shora, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

35.99539, 43.2216 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

Three civilians were killed and another injured when Shora primary school, which had been taken over by ISIS to make bombs, was hit by an airstrike – an investigation by the New York Times Magazine found.

According to a field investigation conducted by reporters Azmah Khan and Anand Gopal for the New York Times, “Shora Primary School, which had been taken over by ISIS and used to make bombs, was hit by an airstrike between 9/20/2016 and 9/23/2016, and killed three civilians who had been walking nearby:

“Hamfeesh Masour Saleh, a retired soldier who had been near the school after praying nearby; Shida Ahmed Hasan, who was coming back from the Shora medical center, because her son needed medicine; and Shida Ahmed Hasan’s two-year-old son, who was with her. Another woman who had been walking with them survived.”

In June 2019 the Coalition accepted full responsibility for this incident, noting: “Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike on a Daesh weapons storage facility. Regrettably, three civilians were unintentionally killed and one unintentionally wounded due to their proximity to the strike.”

The Coalition later provided Airwars with the location for this incident, accurate to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 child1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (1) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    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
    Other
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    3
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    1
  • Stated location
    near Qayyarah, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SLE397849
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jun 27, 2019
  • Sept. 22, 2016, near Qayyarah, Iraq, via media-report. Coalition aircraft conducted an airstrike on a Daesh weapons storage facility. Regrettably, three civilians were unintentionally killed and one unintentionally wounded due to their proximity to the strike.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Near Qayyarah, two strikes engaged two ISIL tactical units and destroyed two vehicles and a
weapons cache.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (1 child1 woman1 man)
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    ISIS

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS623

Incident date

March 25, 2017

Location

Hamrat, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.907881, 39.169956 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

In July 2017 the Coalition reported that it had unintentionally injured one civilian in a strike previously unreported by Airwars: “March 25, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via self-report: During a strike on an ISIS vehicle carrying mortar rounds, it was assessed that one civilian was unintentionally injured by a secondary explosion.”

Coalition officials told Airwars this incident occurred at the location 37SEV1533573744 which placed the event at Al Hamrat, a town 15 km from Raqqa city.

Although local sources confirmed the strike at the time of the event, reports did not make mention civilian casualties in al Hamrat (which is a collection of 5 villages: حمرة ناصر Hamrat Nasser, حمرة بويطية Hamrat Buweitiya, حمرة بلاسم Hamrat Blassem, حمرة غنام Hamrat Ghnam and حمرة جماسة Hamrat Jamassa).

Most sources, like RBSS, Raqqa RWB and Syrian PC, stated that the Coalition conducted three raids on “the village of Hamra Nasser and the brick factory east of the city.” Smart News Agency noted that these villages were “empty […] after a gradual displacement following instructions from the Islamic state to evacuate those who remained.”

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (8) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    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
    Killed by secondary explosion(s)
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    1
  • Stated location
    near Raqqah, Syria [Hamrat]
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    1 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV1533573744
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jul 7, 2017
  • March 25, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via self-report: During a strike on an ISIS vehicle carrying mortar rounds, it was assessed that one civilian was unintentionally injured by a secondary explosion.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For March 25th-26th: “Near Ar Raqqah, four strikes engaged three ISIS tactical units; destroyed a fighting position, a tactical vehicle, and a mortar system; and damaged a supply rout” and “Near Tabqah, nine strikes engaged five ISIS tactical units; destroyed nine fighting positions, an improvised weapons facility, and a weapons factory; and damaged a supply route.”

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    1
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (8) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1941

Incident date

December 21, 2019

Location

دوار قرموطي, Qarmouti Roundabout, Hassaka, Syria

Geolocation

37.049272, 41.205214 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

Manar Saqer, female, aged 27, was reported killed on December 21st 2019, after she was run over by a US-led Coalition vehicle (truck) near Qarmouti square in Qamishli, Syria, according to local sources.

Manar was reported hit while she was returning back from her work around 17:30 local time. Another source believed the victim killed in the accident was a child.

Qamishli for Everyone reported: “Manar Saqer, a 27-year-old girl, was run over by a loader last night [DEc 21st] at about half past five on the Amouda road near Qarmouti roundabout next to the auto oil store during her return from work. This resulted in the amputation of her legs in hospital, where she later passed away”.

In the third of their September 2020 civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition assessed reports that they were responsible for civilian harm in this event as “non-credible”, stating that the allegation “refers to a vehicular accident, not a Coalition force engagement”.

The incident occured at approximately 5:30 pm local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • 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

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the Qarmouti Roundabout (دوار قرموطي), sometimes called Osman Sabri roundabout, on the road that connects the city of Al Qamishli (القامشلي) to the town of Amuda (عامودا‎) towards the west. The exact coordinates for the roundabout are: 37.049272, 41.205214.

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
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFB960026
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 14, 2020
  • Dec. 21, 2019, Al Hassaka, Syria, via Airwars report. This allegation refers to a vehicular accident, not a Coalition force engagement. 3216/CS1941 37SFB960026

Summary

  • Strike status
    Likely strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 woman)
  • 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

Sources (5) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI059

Incident date

April 19, 2015

Location

الرطبة, Ar Rutbah, Anbar, Iraq

Geolocation

33.03681, 40.284 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

In a likely US or British drone strike, a truck was inadvertently hit during an airstrike at Ar Rutbah, according to a declassified CENTCOM report. “2 seconds prior to weapon impact, a large truck inadvertently arrived at the checkpoint. The back section of the truck was possibly damaged during the strike.” The driver was observed fleeing.

The weapon used was an AGM-114 Hellfire, most typically used by Reaper drones and by Apache attack helicopters. Britain has confirmed carrying out a drone strike on the date in question “in western Iraq.”

The outcome of any investigation at the time the document was collated (most likely early May 2015) was not known.

Airwars researchers have not identified any public claims of civilians killed or injured for this date. though news reports did note the very heavy bombing in Iraq that day – with 26 airstrikes by “fighter and bomber aircraft, and unmanned aerial vehicles against Daesh.”

On July 7th, 2017, the Coalition admitted responsibility, reporting: “April. 19, 2015, near Ar Rutbah, Iraq, via Airwars report: During a strike on an ISIS checkpoint, it was assessed that two civilians were unintentionally injured when a vehicle arrived at the checkpoint after the munition was released.”

In July 2019, the Coalition provided Airwars with the location of the event to within a 100 metre box.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest city at 33.036997, 40.284076

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    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 injuries conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    near Ar Rutbah, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SFS199561
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jul 7, 2017
  • April. 19, 2015, near Ar Rutbah, Iraq, via Airwars report: During a strike on an ISIS checkpoint, it was assessed that two civilians were unintentionally injured when a vehicle arrived at the checkpoint after the munition was released.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For April 19th-20th 2015 the Coalition reported that “Near Ar Rutbah, an airstrike struck an ISIL tactical unit.“

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (4) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS1101

Incident date

June 26, 2017

Location

Near Old bridge, Ar Raqqah, Syria

Geolocation

35.938528, 39.011139 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 1m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 1m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

In an incident not previously tracked by Airwars, the Coalition later confirmed the injuries of two civilians in an event near Raqqa.

Their September 2017 civilian casualty report noted: “During a strike on an ISIS headquarters structure, it was assessed that two civilians were unintentionally injured.”

The Coalition provided Airwars with the location of this incident, accurate to within a one-metre box. The location given is on the crossing of Al Kourish road and highway 6, on the north side of the old bridge in Raqqa.

Coalition officials later confirmed that this incident does not match any of the events that we had listed in Raqqa on this day (S952, S954, S957 and S957a).

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (1) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    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 injuries conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    near Raqqah, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    1 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SEV0100577129
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 29, 2017
  • June 26, 2017, near Raqqah, Syria, via self-report: During a strike on an ISIS headquarters structure, it was assessed that two civilians were unintentionally injured.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For June 26th-27th: “Near Raqqah, 18 strikes engaged 15 ISIS tactical units; destroyed 13 fighting positions, two vehicles, a VBIED, a home-made explosives factory, and an ISIS headquarters; and damaged two fighting positions.” It additionally reported that “On June 26, near Raqqah, Syria, two strikes engaged an ISIS tactical unit and destroyed an IED belt.”

United Kingdom
  • English
    /
    Original

‘Monday 26 June – Tornados destroyed a truck-bomb workshop near Al Mayadin in eastern Syria, while Typhoons and Tornados eliminated snipers in Raqqa and Mosul… Two mixed pairs of Tornados and Typhoons, supported by a Voyager air refuelling tanker, meanwhile provided close air support to the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) pushing into Raqqa and to the Iraqi troops clearing remaining Daesh positions in west Mosul. A Brimstone missile accounted for a sniper team in Raqqa.'

France
  • English
    /
    Original

19 strikes were made by French aircraft in Iraq and Syria in the last week. Most of them were carried out in the battles of Mosul and Raqqah. These strikes were aimed at groups of Daech fighters. The other strikes were carried out in Syria and targeted regrouping and refueling areas used by jihadi fighters. Task Force Wagram carried out 16 artillery strikes in Mosul.

‘CHAMMAL APPRÉCIATION DE SITUATION En Syrie, les Forces Démocratiques Syriennes (FDS) sont engagées dans des combats féroces pour reprendre progressivement le contrôle du centre-ville de Raqqah. À l’Est, arrivés en bordure de la muraille d’enceinte de la vieille ville, les FDS sont ralentis sur les autres axes par les stratégies de harcèlement et d’imbrication de Daech déjà mises en œuvre à Mossoul. Les combattants du groupe terroriste s’appuient par ailleurs sur les rues étroites de la vieille ville pour freiner la progression des FDS. En Irak, le recul de Daech se poursuit. Au nord-ouest de l’Irak, les Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) et la 15e division irakienne poursuivent leurs actions pour consolider leur emprise sur la province de Ninive. Daech de son côté continue de concentrer ses actions de diversion dans la poche de Hawijah. À Mossoul, les Forces de sécurité irakiennes (FSI) continuent leur progression méthodique. Les combattants de Daech sont désormais isolés dans deux poches de résistances distinctes, entre la Médina et le complexe hospitalier. Le 21 juin les djihadistes ont fait sauter la mosquée Al Nouri alors que les FSI s’en approchaient, privant ces dernières d’une prise symbolique. Ils ont également mené plusieurs actions de harcèlement contre les lignes arrière des FSI. Dans les quartiers repris, la sécurisation est lente, progressive et dangereuse pour les FSI. Daech continue de mener des actions sporadiques de harcèlement et tente de maintenir des cellules dormantes. ACTIVITÉS DE LA FORCE CHAMMAL Appui feu – TF Wagram La Task Force (TF) Wagram a appuyé cette semaine les opérations de ratissage de la 15e division irakienne à l’ouest de Mossoul. 16 missions de tir ont été réalisées en appui des unités irakiennes dont : 10 missions de harcèlement 6 missions d’éclairement Depuis le début de son engagement, la TF Wagram a donc conduit plus de 1200 missions de tirs. Appui aérien au Levant Cette semaine, les aéronefs de l’opération Chammal ont réalisé 31 sorties aériennes dont 29 de reconnaissance armée ou d’appui au sol (CAS) et 2 de recueil de renseignements. 19 frappes ont été réalisées par les avions français en Irak et en Syrie. La majeure partie d’entre elles ont été réalisées dans le cadre des batailles de Mossoul et de Raqqah. Ces frappes visaient des groupes de combattants de Daech. Les autres frappes ont été réalisées en Syrie et ont visé des zones de regroupement et de ravitaillements utilisées par les combattants djihadistes.’

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI880

Incident date

March 13, 2020

Location

مطار كربلاء الدولي, Karbala International Airport, Karbala, Iraq

Geolocation

32.347736, 44.214334 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Three civilians were reportedly killed and two others injured in alleged American airstrikes in on Karbala International Airport which was under construction in Karbala governorate on March 13th, 2020, according to local sources. The incident is also believed to have killed three belligerents and the injury of nine, two of whom are in critical condition. In September 2020, the Coalition admitted that a strike had been conducted on March 13th “against a Kata’ib Hizbolla facility”, killing one civilian.

US officials had told Reuters that American “retaliatory strikes are underway in Iraq after the Taji camp attack north of Baghdad”.

Step News Agency reported that “on Thursday night-Friday night, the United States launched airstrikes targeting sites belonging to the Iranian militias in Iraq, amid reports that the general was killed in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard militia, Siamand Mashhadani, in the Jurf Al Sakhr region.” The Pentagon confirmed that strikes targeted five weapon storage units of Iranian-backed militias.

One of the victims was identified by New York Times as “Karrar Sabbar, aged 23, who left behind a wife and two children. He worked as a guard, sleeping in one of the airport’s halls or one of the administrative buildings.”

@Nz0FT8c0yti5CxG tweeted that Karrar (1995, full name unknown) was killed in American airstrikes around 1 AM. The source added that the young man was from Karbala governorate, and he worked as a night security guard at an airport that had been under construction. Four missiles were reportedly fired by American warplanes. Also continued to say that “two of his brothers are martyrs.”

NYTimes said that the airstrikes launched overnight “killed three Iraqi soldiers, two police officers and a civilian worker, and damaged an unfinished civilian airport.”

NYTimes said the Pentagon said the American strikes were in self-defense to destroy rockets and other weapons that he said had been supplied by Iran and one of the five sites attacked was a weapons storage site at an airfield in Karbala, but the Iraqi military statement said the airport that was hit was “totally civilian” and all workers there were civilians. Witnesses including a New York Times reporter noted that while the damage from the strikes was clear nothing appeared to have been burned, not even the papers that were in one of the administrative office areas that were hit. If the facility had been used for ammunition storage, it would have been likely to have caused a fire.

Shiite News said that “An airport under construction in Iraq’s central Karbala province was hit in a US bombing raid on militias, with photos showing debris scattered across the site. The US said earlier the strikes were “precise” and defensive.”

Tasnim News said “Unconfirmed reports suggest a construction worker may have been killed in the raid, which the Pentagon insisted earlier was conducted with precision and for purely defensive purposes. ”

Anadolu Agency said “The Iraqi army announced that three soldiers from its forces, two policemen and one civilian were killed as a result of the American strikes Friday night in the southern province of Babel.”

The Joint Operations Command (affiliated to the army) said in a statement on Friday: “At dawn today, Iraq was subjected to a blatant attack by American combat aircraft targeting the army units of the 19th Division and the headquarters of the 46th Popular Mobilization and the third Babylon Police Regiment in Babil Province (Jurf Al-Nasr, Al-Saeedat, Behbehani, The former Ashtar military manufacturing facility, Karbala Airport, is under construction located on the road between Karbala and Najaf). The statement stated that the attack resulted in the death of 3 soldiers and the injury of 4 others, the killing of 2 policemen and the injury of 2 others. In turn, “Al-Husayniya Threshold” in the city of Karbala, southern Iraq, reported that a civilian was killed during the American air strikes at Karbala International Airport.”

The Washington post reported from the Iraqi authorities that “three soldiers and two policemen were killed in the attacks, along with a civilian who was working in an airport that was under construction.”

The Shiite supreme leadership in Iraq condemned the attack and said in a statement that “the bombing had caused the death of a civilian and the wounding of others who were working in the construction of the airport, in addition to significant damage to administrative and service facilities. The statement clearly states that “this airport is purely civilian, and its construction is supervised by the Husseiniya threshold, in agreement with several Iraqi companies and by Iraqi civilian cadres.”

According to Youm7, the Iraqi president condemned the attack and described it “a violation to national sovereignty.”

A statement by the Joint Operations Command said that the attack led to “the killing of three fighters from the nineteenth division, and the injury of four, two of them in critical condition, and the killing of two and the injury of two from the employees of the Babylon third emergency police regiment, and the injury of five of the 46 fighters of the PMF and the death of a civilian worker in Karbala airport, which is under construction, and the wounding of another.”

According to Aleba’a, the Iraqi MP Karim Alaiwi considered the US attack on Karabala airport a message to the Iraqi Shiite Supreme Leadership which pushed the Parliament to take a decision asking the US forces to withdraw from Iraq. He said: “Everyone knows that Karbala airport is a purely civil project and has nothing to do with military objectives, but the United States wanted to send a message to the Shiite decision center that led Parliament to take the decision to remove foreign forces from Iraq.”

In the first of their September 2020 civilian casualty reports, the US-led Coalition stated: “Coalition forces conducted an airstrike against a Kata’ib Hizbolla facility. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed as a result of the strike”.

The incident occured at approximately 1:00 am local time.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    Iraqi militias (PMUs)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    9

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (32) [ collapse]

  • Aftermath of the US airstrike on Karbala Airport project on March 13th, 2020 (via NYT)
  • Destruction at Karbala airport in the Iraqi shrine city, one of the areas targeted by US military air strikes on March 13th, 2020 (via Vox)
  • A US military PowerPoint slide released to reporters shows the five targets of the airstrikes on March 13th, 2020 (via Vox.com)
  • Damage to Karbala international airport which was under construction after a US airstrike on March 13th, 2020. (via shiitenews).
  • Damage to Karbala international airport which was under construction after a US airstrike on March 13th, 2020. (via shiitenews).
  • Damage to Karbala international airport which was under construction after a US airstrike on March 13th, 2020. (via shiitenews).
  • Damage to Karbala international airport which was under construction after a US airstrike on March 13th, 2020. (via shiitenews).
  • Image showing the damage caused to Karabala International Airport project which was still under construction when attacked by the US in an airstrike on March 13th, 2020 (via imamhussain)
  • Image showing the damage caused to Karabala International Airport project which was still under construction when attacked by the US in an airstrike on March 13th, 2020 (via imamhussain)
  • Image showing the damage caused to Karabala International Airport project which was still under construction when attacked by the US in an airstrike on March 13th, 2020 (via imamhussain)
  • Image showing the damage caused to Karabala International Airport project which was still under construction when attacked by the US in an airstrike on March 13th, 2020 (via imamhussain)
  • Image showing the damage caused to Karabala International Airport project which was still under construction when attacked by the US in an airstrike on March 13th, 2020 (via imamhussain)
  • Image showing the damage caused to Karabala International Airport project which was still under construction when attacked by the US in an airstrike on March 13th, 2020 (via imamhussain)
  • Image showing the damage caused to Karabala International Airport project which was still under construction when attacked by the US in an airstrike on March 13th, 2020 (via imamhussain)
  • Image showing the damage caused to Karabala International Airport project which was still under construction when attacked by the US in an airstrike on March 13th, 2020 (via imamhussain)
  • Image showing the damage caused to Karabala International Airport project which was still under construction when attacked by the US in an airstrike on March 13th, 2020 (via imamhussain)
  • A US airstrike on Karabala international airport caused huge damage to the building which was under construction (via Shafaq)
  • Fighters from the Kataeb Hezbollah, or Hezbollah Brigades militia, inspect the destruction at their headquarters in the aftermath of a U.S. airstrike in Qaim, Iraq, Monday, Dec. 30, 2019. The Iranian-backed militia said Monday that the death toll from U.S. military strikes in Iraq and Syria against its fighters has risen to 25, vowing to exact revenge for the "aggression of evil American ravens." (AP Photo)
  • Aftermath of an American airstrike on Karabala international airport project on March 13th, 2020 (via youm7)
  • Aftermath of an American airstrike on Karabala international airport project on March 13th, 2020 (via youm7)
  • Aftermath of an American airstrike on Karabala international airport project on March 13th, 2020 (via youm7)
  • Aftermath of an American airstrike on Karabala international airport project on March 13th, 2020 (via youm7)
  • Aftermath of an American airstrike on Karabala international airport project on March 13th, 2020 (via youm7)
  • Aftermath of an American airstrike on Karabala international airport project on March 13th, 2020 (via youm7)
  • Aftermath of an American airstrike on Karabala international airport project on March 13th, 2020 (via youm7)
  • Image via Alghadeer in the aftermath of the American airstrike that hit Karabala international airport project that was still under construction bordering Najaf province on March 13th, 2020.
  • Image via Alghadeer in the aftermath of the American airstrike that hit Karabala international airport project that was still under construction bordering Najaf province on March 13th, 2020.
  • Image via Alghadeer in the aftermath of the American airstrike that hit Karabala international airport project that was still under construction bordering Najaf province on March 13th, 2020.
  • Image via Alghadeer in the aftermath of the American airstrike that hit Karabala international airport project that was still under construction bordering Najaf province on March 13th, 2020.
  • Aftermath of an American airstrike on Karabala international airport project on March 13th, 2020 (via youm7)
  • Destruction of parts of Karbala international airport by a US airstirke on March 13th, 2020 (via Alebaa).

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention multiple strikes on alleged weapon caches, some of which struck a civilian from Karbala (كربلاء), who sources suggest that he was employed as night security at the Karbala International Airport (مطار كربلاء الدولي) that is currently under construction. Since the strikes happened during the night and assuming that the individual was at work, we suggest that the location of the strike is the airport, for which coordinates are: 32.347736, 44.214334. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further.

  • Google Earth imagery dating back from 2010 does not show the current progress of the Karbala International Airport (مطار كربلاء الدولي) which is currently under construction. Instead, here is an image from the Sentinel-2 L1C data, from the 9th of March, 2020.

    Imagery:
    Sentinel-2, ESA

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

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

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    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
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    1
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    in Karbala, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SMA261793
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 9, 2020
  • Mar. 13, 2020, in Karbala, Iraq, via media report. Coalition forces conducted an airstrike against a Kata’ib Hizbolla facility. Regrettably, one civilian was unintentionally killed as a result of the strike. 3047 38SMA261793

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (3 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Suspected attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition
  • Suspected target
    Iraqi militias (PMUs)
  • Belligerents reported killed
    3
  • Belligerents reported injured
    9

Sources (20) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI122

Incident date

October 15, 2015

Location

تل عفر, Tall Afar, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.37459, 42.45731 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Within 100m (via Coalition) level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Within 100m (via Coalition)

Airwars assessment

In a previously unknown casualty event, the US confirmed on January 29th 2016 that its aircraft had injured at least two civilians in a targeted strike on an ISIL religious judge three months earlier.

According to CENTCOM, “On Oct. 15, 2015, near Tal Afar, Iraq, during strikes against ISIL Sharia Judge Mullah Maysar, it was assessed two civilians were injured when the targeted vehicle veered into oncoming traffic.”

Local media described the attack at the time, with one report saying Maysar had died alongside two bodyguards, with five unspecified people injured. Another report said that five militants died in the attack.

The ISIL operative – real name Akram Kurbash aka Abu Akram – was a senior figure in Daesh and had been the target of previous Coalition targeted strikes. He was first reported killed on May 13th 2015 by the Iraqi Defence Ministry, a claim later played down by the US.

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

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (6) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (1) [ collapse]

  • ISIS judge Kahtan Adnan Abdulkader reportedly killed in the strike (via Falcons of war)

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest city at 36.375659, 42.451536

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Credible / Substantiated
    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
    Other
    Airwars’ assessment of belligerent’s civilian casualty statement
  • Initial Airwars grading
    Confirmed
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    2
  • Stated location
    near Tal Afar, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SKF719285
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jan 29, 2016
  • On Oct. 15, 2015, near Tal Afar, Iraq, during strikes against ISIL Sharia Judge Mullah Maysar, it was assessed two civilians were injured when the targeted vehicle veered into oncoming traffic.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

For October 15th-16th 2015, the Coalition had orignally reported only that “Near Tal Afar, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles, 49 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL cache, and wounded an ISIL fighter.”

Summary

  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    0
  • Civilians reported injured
    2–5
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known attacker
    US-led Coalition

Sources (6) [ collapse]