Airwars maintains an extensive all-source database of known allegations in which civilians and friendly forces have been reported killed by the Coalition or Russia in Iraq and Syria. Our individual case studies include photographs, videos, names of the dead, and links to all known sources. These reports represent our best current understanding of events and are updated as new information becomes available.
Summary findings on Coalition air and artillery strikes: August 8th 2014 to February 28th 2018
To February 28th 2018 an overall total of between 17,348 and 25,800 civilian non-combatant fatalities had been locally alleged from 2,475 separate reported Coalition incidents, in both Iraq and Syria. Of these, Airwars presently estimates that a minimum of 6,238 to 9,582 civilians are likely to have died in Coalition actions. However, some caution is needed given the significant challenges of casualty verification at present.
The Coalition has so far confirmed 212 of 2,475 claimed incidents as causing 756 civilian fatalities. In addition 85 further civilian deaths have been confirmed in unidentified incidents, at least 80 of which were the result of non-US Coalition actions.
In addition to these confirmed events, it is our provisional view at Airwars that between 5,189 and 7,936 civilian non-combatants appear likely to have been killed in 974 further incidents where there is fair and uncontested public reporting of an event – and where Coalition strikes were confirmed in the near vicinity on that date. Some 182 of these likely incidents were in Iraq (1,549 to 2,299 reported deaths) and 792 events in Syria (with a reported fatality range of 3,640 to 5,637.)
At least 1,281 children and 803 women are reported to be among those killed in confirmed and likely events, along with 4,695 or more civilians reportedly injured. Airwars presently lists the names of 2,970 reported civilian fatality victims from confirmed and likely Coalition events.
Across both nations, 144 alleged civilian casualty incidents have so far in our view been discounted, ie are highly unlikely to have involved Coalition aircraft (751 to 1,153 claimed deaths). This categorisation is often a result of Coalition feedback on alleged incidents. An additional 382 to 531 civilians reportedly died in 62 events where the reporting appears fair, but where it remains unclear whether the Coalition carried out any attack in the vicinity on the date in question.
A further 2,352 to 2,738 claimed deaths are attributed to 421 alleged Coalition airstrikes which are presently weakly reported or single-sourced.
An additional 6,571 to 10,261 asserted fatalities resulted from 507 contested events (for example, claims that the Iraq Air Force or proxy ground actions might instead have been responsible.)
Some 149 further contested events (943 to 1,384 deaths) may have involved Russian aircraft in Syria. And 21 additional contested events (139 to 179 deaths) were attributed variously both to the Coalition and to Turkey.
The Coalition has additionally conceded four ‘friendly fire’ incidents. It has confirmed it likely killed Iraq Army forces at Fallujah on December 18th 2015, which the public record indicates killed 10 to 23 Iraqi troops. On September 17th 2016, between 15 and 65 Assad regime troops died in a confirmed Coalition action in Syria. On October 5th 2016, between 18 and 21 friendly Sunni tribal militia were killed in a Coalition strike near Qayyarah. And on April 11th 2017 the Coalition killed 18 SDF forces near Tabqah in Syria. A fifth reported event on January 27th 2018 which reportedly killed eleven Iraqi security personnel is under investigation.
Several hundred additional ‘friendly fire’ deaths of allied ground forces and non-friendly Syrian regime forces have been attributed to the Coalition from 58 more claimed incidents, with varying levels of credibility.
To date the Coalition has conceded 212 civilian casualty events – and Airwars is seeking to work with the Coalition properly to identify the locations of these incidents.
In its own latest monthly civilian casualty assessment – published on February 22nd 2018 – the Coalition noted the following: “In the month of January, CJTF-OIR carried over 406 open reports of possible civilian casualties from previous months and received 195 new reports resulting from Coalition strikes (artillery or air) in support of partner force operations to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria. During this period, the Coalition completed the assessment of 116 reports: 102 were assessed to be non-credible, 10 were assessed to be duplicates of previous reports, and four were assessed to be credible, resulting in 10 unintentional civilian deaths. To date, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 841 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve. A total of 485 reports are still open.”
Airwars continues to improve its understanding of individual allegations – and our data and case reports include reference to the Coalition’s own assessments, where known. Our data is also regularly adjusted to reflect those alleged cases where the alliance has demonstrated it was not responsible for non-combatant fatalities.
Estimated minimum civilian deaths from Coalition airstrikes from August 2014
Updated hourly. The map plots all Confirmed and Fair minimum civilian fatality events from Coalition airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria, aggregated by unique location.
Graphics by Airwars – Basile Simon. Geolocation by Christiaan Triebert.
How we grade alleged incidents
Because of wide variations in the quality of casualty recording, Airwars uses a grading system for events alleging non-combatant or ‘friendly fire’ deaths from Coalition airstrikes. These are:
Confirmed: Where the coalition or an individual ally has accepted responsibility for the killing of non-combatants or allied forces in a particular incident.
Fair: Reasonable level of public reporting of alleged incident from two or more generally credible sources (often with biographical, photographic or video evidence). Crucially, there are also confirmed coalition strikes in the near vicinity for that date. We believe these cases in particular require urgent investigation.
Fair, but with no confirmed strikes: Locations provided by the Coalition in its daily reports can be overly vague, and on occasion it has not reported strikes on particular locales. At other times the Coalition might state categorically that it did not carry out an airstrike at a named location on a particular date – despite fair evidence of an airstrike in the vicinity.
Weak: Single source claims. Even so, these may feature biographical or photographic detail from a reputable source, with coalition strikes also confirmed in the vicinity.
Contested Events: Where there are claims of both coalition and Iraqi or Syrian aircraft having carried out strikes at a location.
Discounted: Those cases where our researchers or others have identified either that those killed were combatants; that no Coalition or Russian strike took place at the location; or where an incident did not appear to result in any civilian casualties.
Also see our Methodology
Airwars conducts daily monitoring of local Arabic-language media and social media sites in both Iraq and Syria for claims of Coalition-inflicted casualties. We also track local casualty monitors, NGOs, international agencies and international media. We permanently archive all reports, and follow up on allegations with the Coalition wherever possible.
Extensive additional civilian casualties are caused by other parties to both the Iraq and Syria conflicts. These include Iraqi and Syrian government forces and allied militias; the Russian, Turkish and Iranian militaries; and militant and terror groups including so-called Islamic State/Daesh, and al Qaeda linked factions in Syria.
A number of monitoring groups based in the Middle East and elsewhere issue daily reports which cover not just civilians killed by the Coalition, but all of those affected by the wars in Iraq and Syria. You can find more information below:
Syrian Network for Human Rights
Violations Documentation Center
Syrian Observatory for Human Rights
Raqaa is Being Slaughtered Silently
Bellingcat (geolocation of strikes)
Iraq Body Count
United Nations Mission in Iraq
Coalition Press Office