Civilian Casualties

Civilian Casualties

Incident Code

USYEMTr116-C

Incident date

November 12, 2017

Location

وادي الحيات, Wadi Al Hayat, Al Bayda, Yemen

Geolocation

14.529359983, 44.855200999 Note: The accuracy of this location is to Neighbourhood/area level. Continue to map

Geolocation accuracy

Neighbourhood/area

Airwars assessment

A US Central Command spokesperson told reporters that a strike had killed two alleged ISIS militants in Bayda governorate on November 12th 2017. This confirmed earlier reports that a US drone strike in the Dhi Kalib area of Qayfa had killed two at noon on that date. Two sources suggested that one of those killed in the strike was a civilian.

According to Yemen Shabab Net, the strike killed civilian Ahmed Muhammad Ahmed al-Azraq Abu Sureima, who “happened to be in the area” when a drone targeted and killed an ISIS militant in Wadi Al Hayat, north of Dhi Kalb. Aden News also reported this, though the article quoted a “media source”, and appeared to be derivative of the Yemen Shabab report. Given this, the allegation of civilian harm has been assessed by Airwars as “weak”.

One Twitter source, @demolinari, suggested that the strike targeted a car near Dhi Kalb village, killing two “suspected ISIS militants”. Other sources simply reported that two were killed in the strike, without providing further information.

In its May 2018 annual civilian casualty report, the US Department of Defense stated that “there were credible reports of civilian casualties caused by U.S. military actions in Yemen against AQAP and ISIS during 2017”, but did not specify which specific actions these reports referred to.  Overall, the Department of Defense assessed that there were credible reports of “approximately 499 civilians killed and approximately 169 civilians injured during 2017”, as a result of US military actions in Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen.

Responding to Airwars’ publication of its Yemen dataset and accompanying report in October 2020, CENTCOM dismissed all but two civilian harm claims under President Trump, asserting that “USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020… The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen.   Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review.”

The incident occured around midday.

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (9) [ collapse]

Media
from sources (3) [ collapse]

  • According to one source, Yemen Shabab Net, the US strike killed one alleged ISIS militant and one nearby civilian near Dhi Kalb. Other sources, and CENTCOM, suggested that both of those killed were ISIS militants (@demolinari, November 13th 2017)

Geolocation notes

Reports of the incident mention Wadi Al Hayat (وادي الحيات), allegedly north of Dhi Kalib (ذي كالب) village, in the Al Quraishyah (القريشيه) district. Due to limited satellite imagery and information available to Airwars, we were unable to verify the location further. The generic coordinates for Dhi Kalib are: 14.529359983, 44.855200999.

United States Armed Forces Assessment:

  • Known belligerent
    United States Armed Forces
  • United States Armed Forces position on incident
    Non credible / Unsubstantiated
    Insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.
  • Civilian deaths conceded
    None
  • Civilian injuries conceded
    None

Civilian casualty statements

United States Armed Forces
  • Nov 5, 2020
  • Via email: U.S. Central Command (USCENTCOM) continues to focus on ways to minimize civilian casualties during its military operations. We assess or review all reports of civilian casualties because such assessments or reviews help us identify ways to improve our operations and counter misinformation and propaganda. We routinely share the results of every one of our assessments in Department of Defense (DoD) reports to Congress, including annual reports, many of which are publicly available. We also share the results of our assessments or reviews with the public via the USCENTCOM website and our statements to the media. Individuals wishing to understand U.S. military operations in Yemen more fully should consult these official sources of information. USCENTCOM conducted a thorough review of the information AirWars provided regarding allegations of potential civilian harm caused by USCENTCOM strikes in Yemen from 2017-2020. Of the information AirWars provided, one strike on September 14, 2017, was assessed to have caused injuries to two civilians. Also, as previously released by USCENTCOM to the public in February 2017, USCENTCOM acknowledged there may have been civilian casualties during a raid on January 29, 2017. The bulk of the information asserted by AirWars, however, did not correspond with dates and locations of U.S. military strikes or raids in Yemen. Other AirWars allegations either did not allege civilian harm or were not assessed as credible upon our review. Consistent with our mission, our authorities, and our obligations under the law of war, USCENTCOM will continue to conduct military actions in Yemen when required to protect the Nation and our allies and partners from al Qa’ida and ISIS terror cells that are committed to inflicting terror. In every strike and raid, we take careful measures to minimize civilian harm and take responsibility for our actions. When our military operations result in reports of civilian harm, we will continue to assess the credibility of such reports to help us identify ways to improve our operations and respond as appropriate.

Original strike reports

United States Armed Forces

We conducted three strikes against ISIS in al-Bayda Governorate, Yemen Nov. 10-12.
· 10 Nov – 1 strike – 2 EKIA
· 11 Nov – 1 strike – 1 EKIA
· 12 Nov – 1 strike – 2 EKIA

Summary

  • Strike status
    Declared strike
  • Strike type
    Airstrike, Drone Strike
  • Civilian harm reported
    Yes
  • Civilians reported killed
    1
  • (1 man)
  • Airwars civilian harm grading
    Weak
    Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
  • Known attacker
    United States Armed Forces
  • Suspected target
    ISIS - Yemen
  • Belligerents reported killed
    1–2

Sources (9) [ collapse]