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
Belligerent Assessment

Incident Code

CS042

Incident date

January 12, 2015

Location

near al-Bo Omar, Syria, Deir ez-Zor, Syria

Airwars assessment

In the January 25th 2018 civilian casualty report, the Coalition reported that a civilian casualties allegation near al-Bo Omar had been assessed as non credible: “#1 Jan. 12, 2015, near al-Bo Omar, Syria via regional human rights group report. 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.” The event was previously unknown to Airwars.

Summary

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

Sources (1) [ 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:20:"no_coalition_strikes";}
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    near Al Jisr al Jadid, Syria
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Feb 22, 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

For January 11th-12th 2015 the Coalition publicly reported: “Near Dawr az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL oil refinery.”

Summary

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

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS041

Incident date

January 11, 2015

Location

دير الزور‎, Deir ez-Zor, Syria

Geolocation

34.9855034, 40.4081155 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

Extensive coalition air raids on Islamic State-controlled oil fields reportedly killed four civilian oil workers, according to a number of sources. Local website Step Agency listed what it said were the targets struck: “The alliance planes at dawn today launched more than five raids targeting Islamic State near the town of Abu Kamal in the villages of Hassrat, Al Mujawira, Al Sayyal and Hajeen in the east of Deir Ez Zawr governorate. They continued their heavy bombardment of al Mayadeen in the evening , targeting the old electricity building and oil wells in the desert in both Mayadeen and Bokros. They also targeted Ain Ali near Al Kouria, and Abu Hamam in Shai’tat and Al Ward oil field.” Locals tweeted that “Dayr Ezzor is under fire” during the air raids.

Residents later described a ferocious US-led attack: “The attack was terrifying as it is the first time the bombing was that strong. I looked up and the sky was red like fire because of the missiles, and then I learned from a relative that the refinery was targeted.”

In a later email exchange with Airwars, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that four civilians later died of injuries sustained during the bombing: “An engineer and three workers from the eastern countryside of Dayr Ez Zawr died on January 13th, following a bombing two days earlier by the allies on an oil refinery in Mayadeen.”

The Syrian Network for Human Rights also reported 4 civilian deaths and named the victims.

Syrian Martyrs and Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies named a possible fifth victim of the event.

SNHR also insisted that only civilians were present at the time of the attack: “As the witness testaments show, there were no vehicles or members of ISIS near the refinery, as it is owned by the victims’ family. The closest ISIS base in the area is 8 km from the refinery.”

 

The incident occured at approximately 7:00 pm local time.

  • Ibrahim Mohammad As-Soulymane Adult male From al-Toub Village in Eastern Deir Ezzor killed
  • Ryad Mohammad Al-Khatter Adult male From al-Toub Village in Eastern Deir Ezzor killed
  • Maher Hamad Al-Allawee Adult male From al-Toub Village in Eastern Deir Ezzor killed
  • Mohammad Awad Al-Hussein 24 years old Petroleum engineer from al Mayadeen in eastern Deir Ezzor. He was married with a one year old daughter named Yara. He had graduated in 2011 and was working at the refinery. killed
  • Mohammad al Sobhi Adult male listed as killed on January 12th 2015 in al Mayadeen due to coalition raids, no further details. killed

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4–5
  • (4–5 men)
  • 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 (7) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (4) [ collapse]

  • A video showing destruction at an oil refinery near al Mayadeen in Deir Ezzor allegedly caused by coalition forces shelling. [Via: SN4HR] published on 23rd January 2015
  • A twitter account named 'Deir Ezzor under Fire' tweets that international coalition planes are allegedly carrying out raids on al Ward oil field in eastern Deir Ezzor, 11th January 2015.
  • The location of the refinery that was targeted, in al Shabi, near al Mayadeen. [Via: SN4HR report published on March 10th 2015]
  • Images showing the destruction at an oil field near al Mayadeen allegedly caused by coalition shelling on 11th January 2015. [Via: SN4HR report published on March 10th, 2015]

Geolocation notes

The Coalition aircraft was reported to have raided an oil refinery (petrol separator) located in the Shabli area, near Al Mayadeen, at approximately 19:00 local time. According to SNHR: “The refinery is 10 km from Al-Qala’a Station which is located on the main street – Mayadeen Road – Bukrus-Deir Ezzor.” The approximate location of this refinery is: 34.9855034, 40.4081155

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

Despite the large scale air attack described by multiple witnesses, the coalition officially confirmed only one airstrike in the immediate vicinity for January 11th-12th 2015, noting only that: “Near Dawr az Zawr, an airstrike struck an ISIL oil refinery.”

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4–5
  • (4–5 men)
  • 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 (7) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI028

Incident date

January 11, 2015

Location

القيارة, Qayyarah, Nineveh, Iraq

Geolocation

35.7977836, 43.2935143 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

A single source claimed that a coalition strike on the town of Qayyarah near Mosul killed and injured “dozens.”

 

The incident occured between 12:00 pm and 6:00 pm local time.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    24
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention five houses were targeted in the city Qayyarah before 18:00 local time, no specific neighbourhoods were mentioned. The location for the midpoint of Qayyarah ( القيارة) is: 35.7977836, 43.2935143

  • The city of Qayyarah ( القيارة)

    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 Qayyarah, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SLE458628
    Military Grid Reference System

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • Sep 27, 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 reported heavy strikes in the vicnity of Mosul for January 10th-11th 2015: “Near Mosul, four airstrikes struck an ISIL armored vehicle, an ISIL tactical unit, and a large ISIL unit and destroyed an ISIL armored vehicle, five ISIL vehicles, and 21 ISIL boats.“

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    24
  • Airwars grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (1) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS040

Incident date

January 5, 2015

Location

معرحطاط, Ma`arr Hitat, Idlib, Syria

Geolocation

35.575381, 36.658974 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Village level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Village

Airwars assessment

The Syrian Martyrs website, lists one civilian male as a victim of a coalition strike. It is unclear whether he was killed in his home town of Ma’ar Hatat in Idlib or in Raqqa.

However, the original listing in Damascus Centre for Human Rights Studies lists him as a militant from Idlib – and reports that he was killed in ‘clashes with the regime’.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

The alleged Coalition airstrike was reported to have taken place in the village Ma’ar Hatat ( معرحطاط), Idlib district. The location for the midpoint of the village is: 35.575381, 36.658974

  • The village of Ma’ar Hatat ( معرحطاط)

    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 Ma’arr Hitat, Idlib, Syria
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    37SBV878393
    Military Grid Reference System

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

No coalition airstrikes have officially been confirmed as occurring in Idlib governorate between January 4th-5th or 5th-6th 2015.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CI027

Incident date

January 2, 2015

Location

الفرحانية, Villages of Al-Farhaniya and al-Subaihat, Salah al-Din, Iraq

Geolocation

33.907385, 44.181475 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

An airstrike by an unspecified belligerent reportedly killed 12 civilians including women and children, and wounded an additional 23. The deaths occurred during an Iraqi government offensive against Islamic State.

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    12
  • Civilians reported injured
    23
  • 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 (3) [ collapse]

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention the villages of Alfarhanah (الفرحانية) and Subaihat (الصبيحات) in the Ishaqi district, South of Tikrit, Salah Al Din province. The location for the Syied Khareeb ( سيد غرايب ) area North West of the Dejeil district, South of Tikrit: 33.907385, 44.181475. Satellite imagery available to Airwars shows visible structural damage to a building at the coordinates 33.908549, 44.180139, between 2014 and 2016. The year long window means this may be a separate incident, however, it should not be discounted.

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 al-Farhaniya and al-Subaihat, Tikrit, Iraq
    Nearest population center
  • Location accuracy
    100 m
  • MGRS coordinate
    38SMC243521
    Military Grid Reference System

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

No coalition airstrikes were officially reported in the vicinity of Tikrit between January 1st-2nd or 2nd-3rd 2015, and no non-combatant deaths have been conceded.

Iraq government forces Assessment:

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

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    12
  • Civilians reported injured
    23
  • 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 (3) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS039

Incident date

December 28, 2014

Location

جرابلس, Jarabulus, Cultural center, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.820528, 38.012028 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Exact location (via Airwars) level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Exact location (via Airwars)

Airwars assessment

An 8.30pm coalition bombing raid on Jarablos – a major Islamic State hub – destroyed a cultural centre being used as an ISIL headquarters in the town. According to Aleppo News, “According to activists, the strikes caused great devastation in the building in addition to the destruction of two civilian houses in the vicinity. Witnesses confirmed that the targeted building was inhabited by many of the elements of the organization (ISIS) which led to the deaths of most of them and seriously injuring the rest.”

‘Dozens’ of militants were reportedly killed. However civilians were also reportedly being detained at the location. Two women casualties of the coalition strike were named as 30 year old Hiba Raei and Jorieh Hamdan. A third victim, a member of the local KazKaz family, was also cited. He may be Fawaz Al Taha (an 18 year old male reportedly killed by the coalition at either al Bab or Jarablos on December 28th.)

VDC also cited local residents as saying that “an unconfirmed number of detainees were killed during this attack” adding that “several ISIL leaders, one of whom was French (his name could not be obtained) were killed as well. Moreover, Abu Omer al-Shami, the prison governor, who is known as Abu Hadid, appeared to have been injured. Eyewitnesses also said that an F-16 fighter aircraft of the International Coalition appears to have carried out the attack.”

 

The incident occured at 8:30 pm local time.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 women1 man)
  • 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]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • Description (from 0’12”): “the death and injury of dozens of members of ISIL following four strikes on the cultural centre in Jarablos” There is no mention of civilian casualties.
  • Aftermath of the alleged strike (via SNHR)
  • Location of the cultural centre (via VDC)

Geolocation notes (1) [ collapse]

Reports of the incident mention the town of Jarablos (جرابلس), Aleppo governorate and that the alleged Coalition airstrike targeted the “cultural centre” building, identified by SNHR as a theatre (المسرح القائم), causing damage to two residential building in the vicinity. The coordinates for Jarablos “cultural centre / theatre” (جرابلس) are: 36.820528, 38.012028

  • Satellite image showing visible damage to the Jarablus “cultural center” building, dated June 4th, 2016

    Imagery:
    © 2018 Google

US-led Coalition Assessment:

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

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

While the coalition initially denied any airstrikes in Aleppo governorate on the night of December 28th 2014, it later conceded to McClatchy that it had bombed Jarablos, in an airstrike it initially described as being “near Kobani” (also see previous event.)

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    3
  • (2 women1 man)
  • 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

CS038

Incident date

December 28, 2014

Location

الباب, Al-Bab, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.3709658, 37.5179666 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Town level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Town

Airwars assessment

In one of the the worst known incidents of mass civilian casualties reportedly caused by coalition bombings, at least 51 non-combatants were killed when aircraft struck an Islamic State local headquarters, which was also being used as a temporary prison.

Somewhere between 150 and 400 people were being held by ISIL on petty charges at the time of the 7.45pm attack at the Al Saraya site, it was reported. Multiple sources have confirmed significant civilian casualties in the event. For example news agency McClatchy “located two sources who confirmed a high civilian death toll from the strike. One witness, an activist in Al Bab, gave the death toll as 61 civilian prisoners and 13 Islamic State guards. The Syrian Network for Human Rights estimated the death toll at 80, and said 25 of those were Islamic State Guards and another 55 were either civilians or imprisoned fighters from non-Islamic State rebel groups.”

Recovering the dead and injured from the site took many days according to VDC, which also reported 60 civilians killed: “On the first day more than 20 injured civilians were taken out in addition to 7 injured members of the organisation who were the policemen in the centre. On the second day after the attack more than 13 bodies of civilians were pulled out of the rubble and 37 more bodies of civilians on the following day as well as a number of unidentified bodies. At the time of counting 10 people were still missing.”

Among those killed were men imprisoned by ISIL simply for buying cigarettes. At least four women and a number of teenagers were reportedly among the dead. News agencies and monitoring groups, which gathered biographical details of many of those killed, initially chose not to make public the names of those killed for fear of retaliation by ISIL against surviving relatives.

Between December 28th 2014 and January 10th 2015, the United States concealed the fact that it had carried out any airstrikes at Al Bab on the night in question. Only after “repeated inquiries” by McClatchy did CENTCOM spokesman Colonel Patrick Ryder finally concede that “Coalition aircraft did strike and destroy an ISIL headquarters building in Al Bab on Dec. 28.”

On April 1st 2015, CENTCOM reassessed claims that multiple civilians had been killed in the Al Bab attack, but still concluded that there was “insufficient information to determine CIVCAS.” This was partly justified by citing an Assad regime airstrike on the city 48 hours before the US attack, “which resulted in media reports of CIVCAS as well.”

This new assessment appeared to take little account of detailed investigations carried out by McClatchy, SN4HR and others.

The use of the al-Saraya building as a holding facility for locals had been widely reported long before the US airstrike. Syrian NGOs were damning of the coalition’s actions: “There is no evidence that the International Coalition exerted any effort to ensure that there were no civilians near the building nor to be certain that the building itself was not a secret detention center for ISIL, as was widely known in town,” noted VDC.

33 unidentified non-combatant males and one unidentified civilian woman (40 years old) were listed in addition to the names below.

 

The incident occured at 7:45 pm local time.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    51–65
  • (2–4 women30 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    20
  • 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 (11) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (6) [ collapse]

  • A satellite image showing the targeted location in Al-Bab city (via al-Bab Lens page)
  • A satellite image showing the targeted location in Al-Bab city (via al-Bab Lens page)
  • An image showing Al-Saraya building in al-Bab city after being targeted (via al-Bab Lens page)
  • Al-Saraya building before bombing (via SNHR)
  • Aftermath of the alleged attack (via SNHR)
  • Aftermath of the alleged attack (via SNHR)

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
    Other
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    al Bab City, Syria.
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • May 1, 2015
  • Twitter report from ANF accused ISIL of keeping prisoners at a location in Al Bab city that was struck in an airstrike. Violations Documentation Center (VDC): 60 alleged civilians killed in a strike on the Saraya Center. // Webops reported atmospherics from a report that ISIL had kept prisoners at a prison location in AI Bab City that it knew would be targeted by the coalition. // Assessed to be insufficient information to determine CIVCAS. Assessment details the strike in question, but also details a Syrian regime strike conducted in close proximity to al Bab City 48 hours prior to coalition, which resulted in media reports of CIVCAS as well. CAOC assessment provided relevant intel and BDA, which did not confirm CIVCAS.

Original strike reports

US-led Coalition

COALITION-ASSESSED CASUALTY INCIDENT

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    51–65
  • (2–4 women30 men)
  • Civilians reported injured
    20
  • 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 (11) [ collapse]

Incident Code

CS037

Incident date

December 26, 2014

Location

الباب, Aleppo, Syria

Geolocation

36.3709658, 37.5179666 Note: The accuracy of this location is to City level. marker Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

City

Airwars assessment

An internal CENTCOM review reported unnamed open sources as claiming civilian casualties had occurred as a result of Coalition airstrikes. A provisional review found that there had been no international airstrikes in the vicinity of the city on that date.

Airwars researchers later identified coverage from the time of Assad regime attacks on Aleppo on December 26th, which caused between 4 and 45 civilian deaths.

 

The local time of the incident is unknown.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4–45
  • Airwars grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ 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:24:"insufficient_information";}
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None
  • Stated location
    Aleppo, Syria.
    Nearest population center

Civilian casualty statements

US-led Coalition
  • May 1, 2015
  • Open sources. No coalition strikes in Aleppo City during relevant time period.

Summary

  • Civilians reported killed
    4–45
  • Airwars grading
    Discounted
    Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
  • Suspected belligerent
    US-led Coalition

Sources (3) [ collapse]