In February 2011, as many Libyans took to the streets to demonstrate against dictator Muammar Gaddafi, his security forces cracked down - killing hundreds. After two students were killed in Al-Bayda, security forces then opened fire on the funeral, killing 17.
Spurred on by protests across the Arab world, in February 2011 Libyans took to the streets against long-time dictator Muammar Gaddafi. Rebels quickly seized key cities but Gaddafi forces cracked down, killing hundreds, and were closing in on Benghazi – the last bastion of the uprising. On March 17th the UN Security Council voted to take “all necessary measures” to protect civilians. NATO then began an air campaign against Gaddafi’s forces, carrying out 7,000 bombing sorties over eight months which tipped the war’s balance. Rebels seized the capital Tripoli in August, with the war ending on October 20th when Gaddafi was captured and killed by rebels in his home city Sirte.
Claims of civilian harm from all parties to Libya’s 2011 war can be accessed either via our interactive mapping and timeline below, or the ‘Civilian Casualties’ tab above. Please note the uprising tally was likely significantly higher than this study indicates. In 2011, local social media use was limited in Libya and there was little independent local media. A significant number of local reports of civilian harm made online at the time may also have since been lost. Many small scale ground actions are additionally not reflected in the database – though they constituted a key element of the toll. Comprehensive Airwars data on civilian harm in Libya from 2012 to the present day can be found here.