All Belligerents in Libya

An injured boy stands in ruins following fighting. (via Saraya Media Center, linked to the militant Shura Council Benghazi)

A 2011 popular uprising in Libya (supported militarily by NATO) against dictator Muammar Ghadafi led to significant upheavals in the North African country – in what former US President Barack Obama would later describe as his greatest foreign policy failure. As Libya collapsed into rival governments, factional militias and civil war, radical Islamist groups including so-called Islamic State began seizing territory. This in turn led to several foreign powers again intervening militarily – including the United States. A second wave of internationalisation began in 2019 following the commencement of the LNA’s siege of Tripoli – with Turkey backing the GNA and the UAE, Russia and Egypt supporting the LNA.

For our Libya project, Airwars initially teamed up with the New America Foundation to assess all known public records of air and artillery strikes and reported civilian harm since the end of the NATO campaign in 2011. The ongoing study was launched in summer 2018 and continues daily to monitor the security situation in Libya. Together we have identified hundreds of likely civilian fatalities in a complex conflict which has seen thousands of air and artillery strikes from at least ten belligerents, both foreign and domestic – though none has ever conceded civilian harm from its own actions. In April 2020 this became a solo Airwars project.

9years23days
Length of Campaign
5,479
Strikes by all belligerents in Libya
2012 – Present
533
Alleged civilian casualty incidents assessed

Airwars estimate of civilian deaths

499–713

Locally reported civilian deaths from declared or likely actions in Libya for which the reporting was assessed by Airwars as Fair, or have been Confirmed by a belligerent. These originate from 322 separate alleged incidents.

77–93 children likely killed
38–41 women likely killed
836–1,296 likely injured
541 named victims

All belligerents in Libya estimate of civilian deaths

0

Confirmed civilian deaths, from all belligerents’ actions in Libya, originating from 19 separate incidents of civilian harm.

0 civilians confirmed injured

Alleged deaths 778–1,117

Locally reported civilian deaths from actions in Libya.

533 separate alleged incidents

Confirmed or fair
Confirmed: A specific belligerent has accepted responsibility for civilian harm.
Fair: Reported by two or more credible sources, with likely or confirmed near actions by a belligerent.
499–713

Civilian deaths for which the reporting was assessed by Airwars as Fair, or have been Confirmed by one ore more belligerents in Libya.

322 separate alleged incidents

Weak
Weak: Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
113–159

Civilian deaths for which the reporting was assessed by Airwars as Weak.

123 separate alleged incidents

Contested
Contested: Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
159–234

Civilian deaths for which the reporting is assessed by Airwars as Contested.

79 separate alleged incidents

Discounted
Discounted: Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
0–2

Civilian deaths were Discounted by Airwars after assessment.

4 separate alleged incidents

Reported civilian deaths from all belligerents’ strikes in Libya

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

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