US-led Coalition in Iraq & Syria

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

Following the capture of much of northern Iraq and eastern Syria by so-called Islamic State – and atrocities committed by the terror group against local populations – an international Coalition led by the United States began military actions against ISIS in August 2014, in partnership with local forces. An intense air and ground campaign over several years led to ISIS being driven out of almost all territory it had previously held – though this also resulted in significant destruction and loss of life. The kinetic element of the Coalition presently comprises the US, the UK, France and Iraq (in Syria). Previous active belligerents include The Netherlands, Canada, Australia, Belgium, Denmark, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Jordan. While the Coalition described its campaign as ‘the most precise in history’, significant civilian casualties were reported in both Iraq and Syria.

5years4months26days
Length of Campaign
14,735
US-led Coalition Strikes in Iraq
19,804
US-led Coalition Strikes in Syria
2,910
Alleged civilian casualty incidents assessed

Airwars estimate of civilian deaths

8,264–13,173

Locally reported civilian deaths from declared or likely US-led Coalition actions in Iraq and Syria for which the reporting was assessed by Airwars as Fair, or have been Confirmed by the US-led Coalition. These originate from 1,482 separate alleged incidents.

1,757–2,348 children likely killed
1,108–1,443 women likely killed
5,771–8,963 likely injured
3,659 named victims

US-led Coalition estimate of civilian deaths

1,370

Confirmed civilian deaths, from US-led Coalition actions in Iraq and Syria, originating from 340 separate incidents of civilian harm.

334 civilians confirmed injured

Alleged deaths 19,170–29,525

Locally reported civilian deaths from US-led Coalition actions in Iraq and Syria.

2,910 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.
8,264–13,173

Civilian deaths for which the reporting was assessed by Airwars as Fair, or have been Confirmed by the US-led Coalition.

1,482 separate alleged incidents

Weak
Weak: Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
2,402–2,823

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

433 separate alleged incidents

Contested
Contested: Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
7,765–12,385

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

749 separate alleged incidents

Discounted
Discounted: Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
697–1,086

Civilian deaths were Discounted by Airwars after assessment.

233 separate alleged incidents

Reported civilian deaths from US-led Coalition strikes in Iraq

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

Reported civilian deaths from US-led Coalition strikes in 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.

Chart legend:

View this chart as:

Best for comparing an individual group over time Best for comparing totals over time
Credit: Airwars Graphic
Source: Airwars