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 August 22nd 2016

To August 22nd 2016 an overall total of between 3,491 and 4,787 civilian non-combatant fatalities had been alleged from 536 separate reported incidents, in both Iraq and Syria. Of these, Airwars presently estimates that a minimum of 1,584 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 531 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.

In addition to these confirmed events, it is our provisional view at Airwars that between 1,507 and 2,301 civilian non-combatants appear likely to have been killed in 235 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 93 of these likely incidents were in Iraq (705 to 1,090 reported deaths) and 142 events in Syria (with a reported fatality range of 802 to 1,211.)

At least 446 children and 246 women are reported to be among those killed in confirmed and likely events, along with 1,391 or more civilians reportedly injured. Airwars presently lists the names of 783 reported civilian fatality victims from confirmed and likely Coalition events.

Across both nations, 27 alleged incidents have in our view been discounted, ie are highly unlikely to have involved Coalition aircraft  (214 to 326 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 712 to 781 claimed deaths are attributed to 116 alleged Coalition airstrikes which are presently weakly reported or single-sourced.

An additional 736 to 932 asserted fatalities resulted from 82 contested events (for example, claims that the Iraq Air Force or ground actions might instead have been responsible.) Some 27 further contested events (151 to 208 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 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: August 19th 2016

Jissag near Mosul, Nineveh province, Iraq
Summary: As many as 19 civilians reportedly died in an alleged Coalition airstrike at Jissag near Mosul. Up to nine children and five women were said to be among the dead.
Yaqein reported the deaths of a woman and her four children in what was described as a Coalition strike. The Iraqi Spring Media Centre also initially reported this figure, but later revised upwards its tally to 15 civilians killed. NRN News placed the deathtoll at 13.
News of Iraq reported that “heavy strikes targeted an empty headquarters of Daesh [trans: or possibly an abandoned building], which led to the collapse of houses adjacent and caused casualties among civilians.” Al Rafidain said the targeted building was the local municipal directorate, with those buildings nearby acting as guesthouses. The US-led Coalition later said it had struck “an ISIL beddown location” that day. Al Jazeera reported that three Daesh fighters also died in the event. .
So-called Islamic State issued a video following the event, which showed widespread destruction of a civilian neighbourhood as well as graphic footage of at least three dead children. One apparent eyewitness speaks to camera: “How can God allow America to kill 19 family members at their home, mostly kids? Are they fighters? May God take revenge on America.
Civilians reported killed: 5-19, including 4-9 children
Reported injured: Unknown
Sources: Yaqein [Arabic], Iraqi Spring Media Centre (1), Iraqi Spring Media Centre (2), News of Iraq [Arabic],Mousa Alomar tweet [Arabic], Al Rafidain [Arabic], EXTREMELY GRAPHIC Al A’Amaq Media (ISIL propaganda video), Al Jazeera [Arabic], GRAPHIC NRN News [Arabic],
Quality of reporting: Fair
Coalition position: For August 18th-19th 2016, the Coalition reported: “Near Mosul, three strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, an ISIL finance storage center, and an ISIL finance distribution center and destroyed three ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL vehicle borne improvised explosive devices, two ISIL mortar systems, four ISIL assembly areas, and an ISIL tunnel and suppressed an ISIL tactical unit and denied ISIL access to terrain.”
And for August 19th-20th it reported: “Near Mosul, two strikes struck an ISIL beddown location and destroyed 39 ISIL oil tanker trucks and two ISIL vehicles.”

A reported image of destruction at Jissag, following an alleged Coalition airstrike on August 19th which killed or more civilians (News of Iraq)
A reported image of destruction at Jissag, following an alleged Coalition airstrike on August 19th which is said to have killed five or more civilians (News of Iraq)

 

Mosul, Nineveh province, Iraq
Summary: Four civilians were reported killed and 24 injured in alleged Coalition airstrikes on Mosul, as the battle for the ISIL-occupied city intensified.
No additional details are presently known. See following report.
Civilians reported killed: 4
Reported injured: 24
Sources: Yaqein [Arabic], Iraqi Spring Media Centre [Arabic], Iraqi Spring media Centre (2) [Arabic], Iraqi Spring Media Centre (3),
Quality of reporting: Weak – with all reports appearing to draw on the same source
Coalition position: For August 14th-15th 2016, the Coalition reported that “Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL improvised explosive device assembly area and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, six ISIL assembly areas, two ISIL command and control nodes, and one ISIL vehicle borne IED and suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position and denied ISIL access to terrain.”
Awaiting report for August 15th-16th.

August 15th 2016: Mosul, Nineveh province, Iraq
Summary: In a second alleged Coalition event in Mosul for the day, 13 civilians reportedly died with 35 more injured, after the Tamatim food distribution building was hit in the city.
NRN, which published graphic photos, reported “the fall of more than 48 civilians in bombing by the Coalition in Mosul.  NRN’s reporter says the morning Coalition strike hit a number of restaurants and commercial markets in the cultural area. He said the target appeared to be an office building used by Daesh, but the bombing was pretty violent. Around six rockets led to the collapse of some buildings and shops nearby.
See preceeding report.
Civilians reported killed: 13
Reported injured: 35
Sources: NRN News [Arabic], Zyad Alsenjary tweet [Arabic], Sonawa tweet [Arabic], GRAPHIC NRN News (2) – photos [Arabic],
Quality of reporting: Fair
Coalition position: For August 14th-15th 2016, the Coalition reported that “Near Mosul, three strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and an ISIL improvised explosive device assembly area and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, six ISIL assembly areas, two ISIL command and control nodes, and one ISIL vehicle borne IED and suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position and denied ISIL access to terrain.”
Awaiting report for August 15th-16th.

Scene of destruction in Mosul after a reported Coalition strike rageting an ISIL-occupied office building severely damaged surrounding areas (NRN via Al A'Amaq)
Scene of destruction in Mosul after a reported Coalition strike on August 15th 2016 targeting an ISIL-occupied office building severely damaged surrounding areas (NRN via Al A’Amaq)

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