US-led Coalition in Iraq & Syria

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

Belligerent
US-led Coalition
Country
start date
end date
Airwars Grading
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

CI056

Incident date

April 4, 2015

Location

فايده, Fadhiliya, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.5125336, 43.2689667 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Five Kurdish non-combatants, all from the same family, died in a reported Coalition strike on the village of Fadhiliyah, near Mosul. A major field investigation by the Guardian later identified the dead.

Three family members survived the attack though were injured. Rahim, an eyewitness and relative, told the Guardian: “We wrapped the dead in blankets and buried them the same day.”

CENTCOM later confirmed that the coalition had struck targets at Fadhiliya on April 4, with a spokesman adding that it was “looking into this further”. Local MP Mala Salim Juma Mohammad said he had been able to confirm that the family had no connection to militants, adding of the strike that “It was a mistake. The coalition needs to compensate the family adequately.”

A declassified CENTCOM report published in August 2015 revealed that a US A-10 Warthog had struck the village, in response to a ‘troops in contact’ request by a unit labelled the Irbil Strike Cell. As the report notes, “Strike imagery shows a structure in the strike radius” and a formal investigation was launched into the attack.

This later concluded that no civilians had died in the event, with CENTCOM presently refusing to expedite publication of the report.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

The victims were named as:

Family members (5)

  • Hazem Abdulla Shahin 69 years old male Named by The Guardian, father killed
  • Nadya Nouri Dawoud 60 years old female Named by The Guardian, mother killed
  • Laith Hazem Abdulla 43 years old male Named by The Guardian, son killed
  • Hana Ali Abdulla 43 years old female pregnant Named by The Guardian, bride of Laith Hazem Abdulla killed
  • Danya Laith Hazem 8 years old male Named by The Guardian, daughter of Laith Hazem Abdulla and Hana Ali Abdulla killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (1 child2 women2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • 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 (1) [ collapse]

  • April 4th Danya Laith Hazem (Guardian)

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    a:1:{i:0;s:5:"other";}
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    Al Fadiliya, Iraq
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • May 1, 2015
  • Irbil Strike Cell received a report of Troops in Contact in Mosul

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    5
  • (1 child2 women2 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    3
  • 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

CI055

Incident date

April 3, 2015

Location

الوائلية, Al Waelyiah, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Abdarahman Alloizi MP, a deputy in the Iraqi parliament, claimed that as many as 26 civilians from one family died, when the coalition struck a house near Mosul, in the village of Al Waeliyah.

No additional details are presently known.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    26
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the village of Al Waelyiah (الوائلية), “West of Mosul”, Nineveh Province (the Arabic spelling is only an approximation as the original Arabic language source has been taken offline). The coordinates for Mosul are: 36.34585235, 43.09857692

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 major strike in the vicinity of Mosul for April 3rd-4th 2015: “Near Mosul, an airstrike struck one large ISIL unit, one ISIL tactical unit and destroyed five ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL machine guns, an ISIL bulldozer, an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL rifle.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    26
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI054

Incident date

March 28, 2015

Location

تل عفر, Tall Afar, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.375659, 42.451536 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

According to an internal CENTCOM document, according to a self-reported night time incident involving an American aircraft may have caused civilian casualties: “US F-16 may have unintentionally struck the nearest collateral object (NCO) and unintentionally struck a car that moved into the FOV [field of view.]“

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

Local media did describe a car as being among the objects destroyed in Coalition raids on the day.

As of December 2017, the outcome of any assessment remained unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • 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 (2) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    a:1:{i:0;s:5:"other";}
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    Tal Afar Storage facility, Iraq
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • May 1, 2015
  • US F-16 may have unintentionally struck the nearest collateral object (NO) and may have unintentionally struck a car that moved into the FOV.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 1
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–1
  • 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 (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI053

Incident date

March 25, 2015

Location

الفلوجة‎, Fallujah, multiple neighbourhoods, Anbar, Iraq

Geolocation

33.3532137, 43.7875674 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

Local residents reported that seven civilians died in a coalition airstrike on Fallujah, with 22 more injured. There were claims that a number of neighbourhoods were hit, including in the west and south of the city. A resident of Fallujah of unknown status, named as Shawki Al-Abdal Saidi, put out a press statement claiming that the coalition, “launched a number of air attacks on the city, on Wednesday, killing seven civilians and wounding 22 others, including women and children.”

Al-Sharqiya reported that both coalition and Iraqi military aircraft participated in the assault, with additional artillery bombardment.

 

The incident was first reported on March 26, 2015 at 7:01 pm by Erem News.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    7
  • Civilians reported injured
    22
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Iraq government forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention multiple neighbourhoods within the city of Fallujah (الفلوجة‎), Anbar province: Golan Quarters (الجولان), Martyrs (الشهداء), Police (الشرطة), Officers (الضباط) and Byblos (جبيل). The Police (الشرطة) and Officers (الضباط) neighbourhoods are adjacent in the North East of the city; Golan Quarters (الجولان) is in the North West; Byblos (جبيل) and Martyrs (الشهداء) are in the South. Reports also mention heavy bombardment and up to 5 sorties, which possibly explains the naming of multiple neighbourhoods. The coordinates for the midpoint of Fallujah (الفلوجة) are: 33.3532137, 43.7875674

  • The neighbourhoods Golan Quarters (الجولان), Martyrs (الشهداء), Police (الشرطة), Officers (الضباط) and Byblos (جبيل) in the city of Fallujah (الفلوجة‎)

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible
    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
  • Stated location
    near Fallujah, Iraq
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jul 26, 2018
  • After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area that correspond to the report of civilian casualties.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The coalition has confirmed for March 24th-25th 2015 that: “Near Fallujah, five airstrikes struck four ISIL tactical units, an ISIL vehicle and destroyed two ISIL excavators and an ISIL vehicle.”

Iraq government forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    7
  • Civilians reported injured
    22
  • Airwars grading
    Contested
    Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
  • Suspected belligerents
    US-led Coalition, Iraq government forces

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI052

Incident date

March 19, 2015

Location

الحويجة, Hawijah, Kirkuk, Iraq

Geolocation

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

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

In an event previously unknown to Airwars, an internal CENTCOM review of a Coalition strike on an ‘ISIL weapons assembly area’ at Hawijah identified a possible issue. According to the report, “ISR imagery showed that an unintentional potential ClVCAS may have occurred. Unidentified and unexpected personnel were seen IVO [in the vicinity of] the detonations. CAOC is assessing.“

A more detailed assessment of weapon system video led to a determination that casualty claims were “not credible.”

Airwars researchers have identified no reports of civilians killed that day, although there was news of heavy fighting in Hawijah itself as ISIL fighters retreated from outlying villages.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–2
  • Airwars grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (2) [ collapse]

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Reason for non-credible assessment
    a:1:{i:0;s:5:"other";}
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    Al Hawijah, Iraq
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • May 1, 2015
  • Strike ISR imagery showed that an unintentional potential CIVCAS may have occurred. Not credible based on closer review of WSV

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    0 – 2
  • Civilians reported injured
    0–2
  • Airwars grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (2) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI051

Incident date

March 13, 2015

Location

الحضر, Hatra, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

35.46957, 42.45308 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 ‘likely’ killed four civilians when a pair of vehicles was hit during an attack on a reported ISIL checkpoint, a CENTCOM investigation later concluded. After a later investigation by the Washington Post found that eleven civilians actually died – including five children, four women and two civilian drivers – the Coalition raised its own estimate to eleven deaths.

According to a declassified CENTCOM report issued on November 20th 2015, the US airstrike by an A-10 Warthog took place at Hatra at 12.18pm local time, and was a target of opportunity.

But also present at the enemy checkpoint were two civilian vehicles, which aircrews and analysts failed to properly identify in the short time between the release of a GBU-38 missile and impact. In the ensuing strike, both civilian cars were also destroyed.

The tragic events of March 13th were never publicly reported at the time. Instead, the owner of one of the vehicles destroyed in the airstrike later wrote to the Coalition asking for compensation for her destroyed vehicle. In a redacted email, the owner reveals that her own KIA car was carrying a family of two children and three women along with a civilian driver. Another vehicle, a GMC with another family in it was also present.

A major investigation by the Washington Post identified the two families killed. The first was that of the driver of the Kia, along with his grandmother, aunt, sister and two children. In the GMC, the driver died along with the family of an Iraqi police commander: “A provincial government official in northern Iraq told Ekabee that the family of a lieutenant colonel with the Iraqi police had been burned alive in the GMC Suburban. ‘What happened to me, you can’t even imagine,’ the colonel said last month in interview with The Washington Post. He said his 9-year-old daughter; two sons, ages 10 and 16; his wife; and the driver were killed in the attack. He spoke on the condition of anonymity because he still has family trapped in Mosul.“

The Hatra incident was initially made public with the release of another declassified CENTCOM document which identified 45 problem incidents involving Coalition aircraft.

Coalition commander Lt General John Hesterman signed off on the completed CENTCOM investigation noting: “I concur with the findings and conclusions of the IO [investigating officer], who substantiated by a preponderance of the evidence that civilian casualties had occurred.”

On April 30th 2017 the Coalition amended its estimate for the attack, noting: “March 13, 2015, near Hatra, Iraq: On the Nov. 20, 2015, U.S. Central Command press release it was reported that four civilians were killed during a strike on an ISIS checkpoint. A subsequent investigation concluded that 11 civilians were unintentionally killed.“

The incident occured at 12:18 pm local time.

The victims were named as:

Family members (4)

  • Wife of anonymised Lt Col in Iraq Army Adult female Fanmily of Lt Col in Iraq Army killed
  • Daughter 9 years old female killed
  • Son 10 years old male killed
  • Son 16 years old male killed
  • Unnamed driver of vehicle Adult male killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    11
  • (5 children4 women2 men)
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (2) [ collapse]

  • The partly redacted testimony of an Iraqi car owner which led Centcom to conclude it had killed civilians in Iraq on march 13th 2015
  • Coaliton commander Lt General John Hesterman signs off on the investigation

Geolocation notes

Prior to the Coalition releasing the MGRS for this incident, Airwars had geolocated it to the nearest village at 35.432785, 44.22447.

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
    11
  • Stated location
    near Al Hatra, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SKE689281
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Apr 30, 2017
  • May 21, 2015
  • Coalition aircraft conducted a dynamic airstrike on a manned ISIL checkpoint near Al Hatra, Iraq. The ISIL checkpoint was successfully destroyed as a result of the airstrike. Unfortunately, the airstrike is assessed as likely resulting in the deaths of four civilians

  • March 13, 2015, near Hatra, Iraq: On the Nov. 20, 2015, U.S. Central Command press release it was reported that four civilians were killed during a strike on an ISIS checkpoint. A subsequent investigation concluded that 11 civilians were unintentionally killed.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The Coalition reported that for March 13th-14th 2015, “Near Kirkuk, four airstrikes struck one large ISIL unit and two ISIL tactical units and destroyed four buildings, three ISIL machine guns, and three ISIL vehicles,” the closest published match to this event at the time.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    11
  • (5 children4 women2 men)
  • Airwars grading
    Confirmed
    A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
  • Known belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (12) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI050

Incident date

March 9, 2015

Location

تل كيف‎, Telkaif, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

36.4908349, 43.1204796 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Eight civilians including three women were claimed by NINA to have been killed in a coalition airstrike on Telkaif, 20km north of Mosul. A dozen militants also reportedly died in the attack.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (1) [ collapse]

    • Arabic
    • Arabic

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

A single source reporting the incident mentions the town of Telkaif ( تل كيف‎ ), North of Mosul, for which the coordinates are: 36.4908349, 43.1204796

  • Telkaif ( تل كيف‎ )

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible
    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
  • Stated location
    near Tilkaif, Mosul, Iraq
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jul 26, 2018
  • After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area that correspond to the report of civilian casualties.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Only one coalition airstrike was reported in the vicinity of Mosul around this period, on March 9th-10th 2015: “Near Mosul, an airstrike suppressed an ISIL vehicle.“

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    8
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (1) [ collapse]

    • Arabic
    • Arabic

Incident Code

CS061

Incident date

March 8, 2015

Location

اطمه, Atimah, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

36.3093144, 36.6781997 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

Sources reported that five unnamed civilian were killed – along with fighters with the al-Nusra Front – in an airstrike on the Syria-Turkey border town of Atama. The building targeted was described as the local headquarters of the al-Nusra Front, an al Qaeda linked faction occasionally targeted by US forces.

Photographs and videos depicted heavy airstrikes within the town, which is also in near proximity to a camp for internally displaced peoples (IDPs.).

According to Siraj, six non-combatants died in the attack, which “completely destroyed a number of houses, and caused material damage in others. The hospital in Atma also sustained minor damage, in the area west of Afrin majority inhabited by Syrian Kurds.”

Hawa cited local residents as saying that following the attack, “elements from Al Nusra Front surrounded the scene of the bombing and prevented civilians from approaching, along with the closure of many shops in the town to its doors after the bombing.”

A later assessment by Forensic Architecture used imagery analysis to identify the location of three airstrikes at Atama, concluding that the attack took place 900m from the nearby IDP camp. As a summary noted, “The case uses clips found in social media websites online to investigate three air strikes on 8 March 2015, near the town of Atimah in Syria and the displaced persons camp of the same name, both abutting the Northern border to Turkey. Shortly after the strikes, several people recorded the incident and uploaded their videos and images online, both on Youtube and Twitter. The case was reported by Airwars who provided Forensic Architecture with the primary analysis and narrative. The Forensic Architecture team identified the location of the strikes close to homes and a public building, and only 900m from the edge of the camp where more than 30,000 people are sheltered. No nation has so far claimed responsibility for this attack, though the target seems to be al Qaeda militants, that operated in the area. The strike reportedly killed six civilians”

 

The incident occured at 4:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 6
  • 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 (7) [ collapse]

  • Reported coalition airstrike in close proximity to IDP camp, Atama, Syria March 8 2015 (TurkPress)
  • Reported coalition airstrike in close proximity to IDP camp, Atama, Syria March 8 2015 (TurkPress)
  • Photo published without caption with article on the strike on Atama, 08/03/2015 [Via: ANHA news agency]
  • Reported coalition airstrike in close proximity to IDP camp, Atama, Syria March 8 2015 (TurkPress)
  • Reported coalition airstrike in close proximity to IDP camp, Atama, Syria March 8 2015 (TurkPress)
  • Footage showing alleged coalition strike on Atama village, 08/03/2015 [Via: LCCSY Media]
  • This media contains graphic content. Click to unblur.

    Turkish twitter account publishes photos purporting to be from this incident. One of the photos bears an IS logo. [via: @nurbakenness]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention Atimah village ( اطمه ), Idlib Governorate, for which the coordinates are: 36.3093144, 36.6781997. Film and photographic evidence suggest that the airstrike was focused on the South East area of the village

  • Position of camera (marked on satellite image taken in October 2015) showing the location of the airstrike in the South East of Atimah (اطمه) in red

    Imagery:
    © 2015 TurkPress © 2018 Google

US-led Coalition Assessment:

  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition
  • US-led Coalition position on incident
    Non credible
    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
  • Stated location
    near Atama, Idlib, Syria
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Jul 26, 2018
  • After a review of available information it was assessed that no Coalition strikes were conducted in the geographical area that correspond to the report of civilian casualties.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

The coalition made no official mention of any airstrike at Atama, noting only for March 8th-9th 2015 that “Near Kobani, five airstrikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL modular oil refinery and destroyed seven ISIL fighting positions and an ISIL vehicle.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    5 – 6
  • 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]