This resource presents Airwars’ ongoing monitoring of civilian harm allegations resulting from reported Israeli strikes in Syria; as well as from the May 2021 conflict in Gaza, and Palestinian rocket fire into Israel during the same period.
Israel’s recent intervention in Syria began in January 2013, when its aircraft struck a convoy allegedly carrying weapons from Syria to Hezbollah militants. Since that date Israel has carried out hundreds of declared and undeclared strikes against Iranian-linked militant groups.
Despite the relative intensity of the Israeli campaign, Syrians themselves have reported relatively low levels of civilian harm – far lower than from many other foreign actors fighting in Syria. This appears linked to Israel mostly striking military targets, in lower population areas.
In May 2021 Israeli forces fought a very different campaign, with Palestinian militants in Gaza – the fourth since 2008. After just eleven days, Israeli forces had killed – by minimum estimates – at least ten times as many civilians in Gaza as they had in eight years of operations in Syria.
Israeli strikes on densely populated areas of Gaza were a particular driver of civilian harm – leading to high casualty levels similar to other city battles such as Raqqa. By presenting the two Israeli campaigns together, we hope to encourage critical debate on why outcomes for civilians can so radically differ – and how such high casualties can be prevented in future.
Known civilian harm claims can be accessed either via our interactive mapping, or via the ‘Civilian Casualties’ tabs above.