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, names of the dead, and links to all known sources.

Coalition
July-Dec 2016

Our evolving current record of all alleged Coalition civilian casualty and ‘friendly fire’ incidents is updated frequently

Coalition
Jan-June 2016

The first six 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

Russia

Our continuing assessment of all known alleged civilian casualty events caused by Russian aircraft from September 2015

Reports

Our more comprehensive studies covering Russian and Coalition airstrikes – including reports on individual members

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 September 26th 2016

To September 26th 2016 an overall total of between 3,595 and 4,919 civilian non-combatant fatalities had been alleged from 560 separate reported incidents, in both Iraq and Syria. Of these, Airwars presently estimates that a minimum of 1,612 to 2,437 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 31 of 560 claimed incidents as causing civilian casualties – eighteen events in Iraq  and thirteen in Syria. We estimate that between 77 and 97 non-combatants died in these incidents (the US places the death toll more conservatively at 55.)

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. And on September 16th 2016, between 13 and 83 Assad regime troops died in a Coalition action in Syria.

In addition to these confirmed events, it is our provisional view at Airwars that between 1,535 and 2,340 civilian non-combatants appear likely to have been killed in 247 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 97 of these likely incidents were in Iraq (717 to 1,111 reported deaths) and 150 events in Syria (with a reported fatality range of 818 to 1,229.)

At least 453 children and 249 women are reported to be among those killed in confirmed and likely events, along with 1,453 or more civilians reportedly injured. Airwars presently lists the names of 795 reported
civilian fatality victims from confirmed and likely Coalition events.

Across both nations, 29 alleged civilian casualty incidents have in our view been discounted, ie are highly unlikely to have involved Coalition aircraft  (229 to 342 claimed deaths). An additional 94 to 142 civilians reportedly died in 18 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 721 to 790 claimed deaths are attributed to 119 alleged Coalition airstrikes which are presently weakly reported or single-sourced.

An additional 750 to 946 asserted fatalities resulted from 85 contested events (for example, claims that the Iraq Air Force or ground actions might instead have been responsible.) Some 31 further contested events (189 to 262 deaths) may have involved Russian aircraft in Syria.

In addition to the two confirmed case cited above, 187 to 326 ‘friendly fire’ deaths of allied ground forces have been attributed to the Coalition from 23 additional 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.

Latest alleged Coalition incident: September 24th 2016

Rutbah, Anbar province, Iraq
Summary:
Reports claimed that eight members of Iraq’s security forces (possibly allied militia) were killed in an alleged Coalition airstrike near Ar Rutbah. News of Iraq was the first to report the event, claiming eight Iraqi forces died as
the result of “an error in bombing” by the Coalition. The Iraqi Spring Media centre placed the toll lower, noting that “coalition planes have mistakenly killed and wounded 7 persons.”
Friendly forces reported killed: 4-8
Reported injured: 4
Sources: News of Iraq [Arabic], Iraqi Spring Media Centre,
Elam Markazi blog [Arabic],
Quality of reporting: Fair, though no Coalition strikes reported
Coalition position: For September 23rd-24th 2016the Coalition publicly reported no strikes at Rutbah though noted that elsewhere in Anbar “Near Ramadi, one strike engaged an ISIL tactial unit and destroyed two mortar systems.” And for September 24th-25thit reported that “Near Ramadi, one strike engaged an ISIL tactial unit and destroyed three vehicles, a heavy machine gun, and an anti-air artillery system.”

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