Aftermath of alleged major 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, available biographies of the dead, and links to all known sources. You can find our occasional in-depth reports here.

Coalition 2016

Our complete assessment of all known alleged Coalition civilian casualty and ‘friendly fire’ incidents

1541_489860954530917_4475524475955333282_n Jan 11th Mosul

Coalition 2015

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

Scene of a devastating Coalition strike at Hawijah, Iraq which killed up to 70 civilians (via Iraqi Spring)

Coalition 2014

Here you’ll find our complete records for all known civilian casualty events for the first five months of the Coalition war

Rescuers search for survivors from a reported US airstrike which killed civilians at Mosul, Iraq October 4 2014 (Al Jazeera)

Russia

Our complete assessment of all known alleged civilian casualty events caused by Russian aircraft up to the end of 2015

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.

Summary findings on Coalition airstrikes:
August 8th 2014 to July 25th 2016

To July 25th 2016, an overall total of between 3,287 and 4,527 civilian non-combatant fatalities had been alleged from 502 separate reported incidents, in both Iraq and Syria. Of these, Airwars presently estimates that a minimum of 1,513 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 26 of 493 claimed incidents as causing civilian casualties – fifteen events in Iraq  and eleven in Syria. We estimate that between 59 and 73 non-combatants died in these incidents (the US places the death toll more conservatively at 42.) 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.

In addition to these confirmed events, it is our provisional view at Airwars that between 1,454 and 2,217 civilian non-combatants appear likely to have been killed in 223 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. At least 421 children and 239 women are reported to be among those killed, along with 1,309 or more civilians reportedly injured in these events. Airwars presently lists the names of 745 reported civilian fatality victims from confirmed and likely Coalition events.

Some 88 of these likely incidents were in Iraq (681 to 1,037 reported deaths) and 135 events in Syria (with a reported fatality range of 773 to 1,180.)

Across both nations, 24 alleged incidents have in our view been disproven, ie are highly unlikely to have involved Coalition aircraft  (153 to 249 claimed deaths). An additional 93 to 141 civilians reportedly died in 17 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 665 to 731 claimed deaths are attributed to 109 alleged Coalition airstrikes which are presently weakly reported or single-sourced.

An additional 717 to 913 asserted fatalities resulted from 78 contested events (for example, claims that the Iraq Air Force or ground actions might instead have been responsible.) Some 25 further contested events (146 to 203 deaths) may have involved Russian aircraft in Syria.

In addition to the one confirmed case cited above, 183 to 341 ‘friendly fire’ deaths of allied ground forces have been attributed to the Coalition from 22 additional incidents, with varying levels of credibility.

To May 20th 2016 the Coalition had provisionally investigated 182 alleged casualty incidents in total, of which it deemed 30 cases to be credible. Five confirmed civcas events are presently awaiting release.

Latest alleged Coalition incident: July 24th 2016

Al Mayadeen desert, Deir Ezzor governorate, Syria
Summary: An alleged Coalition (or possibly Assad regime) airstrike on a fuel truck also killed two civilians and injured two more, according to reports.
According to Al Hall, “Two civilians were killed and two others wounded, on Sunday afternoon, bombed by warplanes on the road in the Mayadeen desert east of Deir al-Zour). Abu Omar (a resident of al Mayadeen  City), told al Hall in an interview that the warplanes ‘targeted, yesterday afternoon, a civilian car on a road desert fields, killing Jaber Abboud Al Khalil and Mithkal Tayeh al Khalil, two civilians from the town of al Shaheel east of Deir al-Zour. In addition two others were seriously injured, and were evacuated to a nearby hospital.”
The Syrian Network was alone in blaming the Assad regime for the incident.
Civilians reported killed: 2
Civilians reported injured: 2
SourcesHalab Today TV [Arabic], Smart News [Arabic], Syrian Observatory for Human Rights [Arabic], Al Hall[Arabic], Al Sharqia 24 [Arabic], Deir Ezzor Observatory [Arabic], Syrian Network for Human Rights [Arabic], Halab Today [Arabic],
Quality of reporting: Contested
Coalition position: For July 24th-25th the Coalition reported no strikes in Deir Ezzor governorate.

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.

Disproven: Those cases where our researchers or others can either demonstrate that those killed were combatants; where no Coalition strike took place at the location; or where an incident did not 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