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 have been reported in both Iraq and Syria.

5years11months27days
Length of Campaign
14,771
US-led Coalition Strikes in Iraq
19,829
US-led Coalition Strikes in Syria
2,921
Alleged civilian casualty incidents assessed

Airwars estimate of civilian deaths

8,259–13,135

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 1,485 separate alleged incidents.

1,756–2,347 children likely killed
1,106–1,441 women likely killed
5,784–8,966 likely injured
3,700 named victims

US-led Coalition estimate of civilian deaths

1,377

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 19,194–29,530

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

2,921 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.
8,259–13,135

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

1,485 separate alleged incidents

Weak
Weak: Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
2,402–2,824

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

434 separate alleged incidents

Contested
Contested: Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
7,793–12,426

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

755 separate alleged incidents

Discounted
Discounted: Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
698–1,087

Civilian deaths were Discounted by Airwars after assessment.

234 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