US-led Coalition in Iraq & Syria

Civilians in the ruins of Mosul city. (Maranie R. Staab)

Declared strikes by US President in Iraq and Syria

The United States and its 13 kinetic allies – part of an international alliance usually known as the Coalition – began an extensive campaign against so-called Islamic State in August 2014, after the terror group had occupied large parts of of Iraq and Syria. By the end of President Trump’s term in office in 2021, the Coalition had publicly declared over the entirety of the war more than 34,000 air and artillery strikes against ISIS.

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Civilian Deaths by US President in Iraq and Syria

The United States and its 13 kinetic allies – part of an international alliance usually known as the Coalition – began an extensive air and artillery campaign against so-called Islamic State in August 2014, after the terror group had occupied large parts of of Iraq and Syria. By the end of President Trump’s term in office in 2021, local communities had alleged more than 29,000 non combatants killed by Coalition actions. This graphic breaks down those alleged deaths according to Airwars’ own assessment methodology, though includes more than 1,400 civilian deaths officially conceded by the US and its allies.

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Reported civilian deaths from US-led Coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria

Due to large variations in the quality of reporting, Airwars provisionally grades allegations of civilian harm using a standardised methodology across all belligerents and conflicts. The five categories are explained in full on our Methodology page. Individual events are recorded in the Civilian Casualties pages.

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Credit: Airwars Graphic
Source: Airwars

Comparing allegations of civilian harm from US-led Coalition and Russian campaigns

Airwars has tracked thousands of reported events in which Russian strikes in Syria or Coalition military actions in Iraq and Syria have allegedly killed civilians. While these raw claims should be treated with caution, they can nevertheless help us to understand trends over time. In March to May 2016 for example, alleged Russian incidents fell by 75% – most likely as a result of a regional ceasefire then in place.

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Credit: Airwars Graphic
Source: Airwars

Declared US-led Coalition air and artillery strikes in Iraq and Syria

The term strike refers both to air and artillery actions. Please note that according to the US-led Coalition against ISIS, a single strike might at times involve multiple aircraft, munitions released and locations.

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A strike, as defined in regular Coalition press releases, refers to “one or more kinetic engagements that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative effect in that location. For example, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIS vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against a group of ISIS-held buildings and weapon systems in a compound, having the cumulative effect of making that facility harder or impossible to use.”

Credit: Airwars Graphic
Source: Combined Joint-Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve

Coalition air-released munitions in Iraq and Syria 2014-2020

The graph models official data from Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) which reflects air-released munitions by the international allies during the war against so-called Islamic State. It does not include artillery or rocket strikes. In March 2020, AFCENT signalled an end to the release of this data.

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Credit: Airwars Graphic

ISR Missions in Iraq/Syria and Afghanistan 2014-2020

Modern militaries use Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) missions for both pre- and post-strike assessments and for targeting assistance. Measuring levels of ISR can therefore provide a useful indicator of efforts taken to better protect civilians on the battlefield. In March 2020, US Air Force Central Command (AFCENT) ceased regular provision of this data.

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