Aftermath of alleged coalition strike on Mosul May 21 2015 (via Mosul Atek)
Aftermath of alleged coalition strike on Mosul, May 21 2015 (via Mosul Atek)

Civilian and ‘friendly fire’ casualties

Airwars maintains an extensive database of all 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.

Coalition 2017 Jan-February

With President Trump promising renewed vigour in the anti-ISIL war, the implications for civilians were unclear

Russia
2015-2017

Russian airstrikes in support of the Assad regime have seen thousands of Syrian civilians credibly reported killed'Fragment of a Russian cruise missile' recovered at Derra Ezzat October 7 2015 (via Amnesty)

Coalition 2016 Oct-Dec

The long-awaited assault on Mosul and a major offensive around Raqqa led to significant civilian deaths

Coalition 2016 July-Sept

A Coalition-backed ground campaign to free Manbij from ISIL led to the heaviest reported casualties so far

Coalition 2016 April-June

Intense Coalition strikes at Manbij, Mosul and Raqqa saw large numbers of civilians killed and injured

Coalition 2016 Jan-March

The first three months of 2016 saw numerous civilian deaths reported from Coalition actions in Iraq and Syria

Coalition 2015

Here you’ll find our complete records for all alleged Coalition civilian casualty events for the year 2015

Coalition 2014

Our complete records for all known civilian casualty events for the first five months of the Coalition war

Summary findings on Coalition airstrikes:
August 8th 2014 to February 18th 2017

To February 18th 2017 an overall total of between 5,722 and 7,733 civilian non-combatant fatalities had been alleged from 907 separate reported incidents, in both Iraq and Syria. Of these, Airwars presently estimates that a minimum of 2,387 to 3,502 civilians are likely to have died in Coalition actions. However, some caution is needed given the significant challenges of casualty verification at present.

See our separate tracking of alleged Russian events here

The Coalition has so far confirmed 71 of 907 claimed incidents as causing 199 civilian fatalities – 39 events in Iraq and 32 in Syria. Airwars estimates that between 369 and 635 non-combatants in fact died in these incidents.

In addition to these confirmed events, it is our provisional view at Airwars that between 2,018 and 2,867 civilian non-combatants appear likely to have been killed in 362 further incidents where there is fair reporting publicly available of an event – and where Coalition strikes were confirmed in the near vicinity on that date. Some 145 of these likely incidents were in Iraq (1,090 to 1,484 reported deaths) and 217 events in Syria (with a reported fatality range of 928 to 1,383.)

At least 622 children and 333 women are reported to be among those killed in confirmed and likely events, along with 2,583 or more civilians reportedly injured. Airwars presently lists the names of 1,092 reported civilian fatality victims from confirmed and likely Coalition events.

Across both nations, 65 alleged civilian casualty incidents have in our view been discounted, ie are highly unlikely to have involved Coalition aircraft (501 to 704 claimed deaths). An additional 181 to 275 civilians reportedly died in 32 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 1.048 to 1,149 claimed deaths are attributed to 177 alleged Coalition airstrikes which are presently weakly reported or single-sourced.

An additional 1,195 to 1,531 asserted fatalities resulted from 140 contested events (for example, claims that the Iraq Air Force or ground actions might instead have been responsible.)

Some 40 further contested events (284 to 407 deaths) may have involved Russian aircraft in Syria. And 20 additional contested events (126 to 165 deaths) were attributed variously both to the Coalition and to Turkey.

The Coalition has additionally confirmed it likely killed Iraq Army forces in a ‘friendly fire’ event 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 Coalition action in Syria. And on October 5th 2016, between 18 and 21 friendly Sunni tribal militia were killed in a Coalition strike near Qayyarah. An additional 178 or more ‘friendly fire’ deaths of allied ground forces have been attributed to the Coalition from 31 more claimed incidents, with varying levels of credibility.

To July 29th 2016 the Coalition had provisionally investigated 202 alleged casualty incidents in total, of which it deemed 143 cases to be “not credible.” Of those deemed credible, 23 allegations remained open and 36 had been closed. The 36 closed allegations resulted in the official announcement of a total of 55 civilian deaths and 29 civilian injuries.

For the latest Coalition civilian casualty allegations for Iraq and Syria please see here

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.

For the latest Coalition civilian casualty allegations for Iraq and Syria please see here

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

Additional resources

Airwars monitors media and social media sites in both Iraq and Syria for claims of coalition-inflicted casualties. We also collate reports from regionally-focused groups, and follow up on allegations with the coalition where 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; and militant and terror groups including Islamic State/Daesh, and the al-Nusra Front.

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
White Helmets
Bellingcat
(geolocation of strikes)
Iraq Body Count
United Nations Mission in Iraq

Coalition Press Office