Turkish Military in Iraq & Syria

An internally displaced Kurdish family in northern Iraq, 2016 (Maranie R. Staab)

Turkey has conducted hundreds of unilateral air and artillery strikes in both Syria and Iraq – as well as a small number of actions as part of the US-led Coalition against so-called Islamic State. From July 2015 in Iraq, occasional unilateral Turkish airstrikes began targeting Kurdish militants in northern Kurdistan. Thirteen months later, the first claimed civilian casualties from Turkish actions were reported at Jeb el-Kussa, Syria. The focus of Ankara’s recent campaign has been twofold. In late 2016 it began an intense unilateral air and ground assault to dislodge ISIS from Al Bab and other areas of Aleppo governorate, during the later stages of Syria’s civil war. Kurdish-held areas and forces were also targeted, particularly during Turkey’s successful attack (in conjunction with local Syrian ground proxies) on the Afrin enclave in early 2018. Overall more than 1,500 civilians have been locally allegedly killed in more than 300 problem Turkish air and artillery strikes in both Syria and Iraq, according to Airwars monitoring.

Airwars estimate of civilian deaths

406–744

Locally reported civilian deaths from Turkish Military actions in Iraq and Syria for which the reporting was assessed by Airwars as Fair, or have been Confirmed by the Turkish Military. These originate from 174 seperate alleged incidents.

99–118 children likely killed
55–67 women likely killed
857–1,178 likely injured
797 named victims

Turkish Military estimate of civilian deaths

0

Confirmed civilian deaths, from Turkish Military actions in Iraq and Syria, originating from 0 seperate incidents of civilian harm.

0 confirmed injured

Alleged deaths 1,074–1,599

Locally reported civilian deaths from Turkish military actions in Iraq and Syria.

314 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.
406–744

Civilian deaths for which the reporting was assessed by Airwars as Fair, or have been Confirmed by the Turkish military.

174 separate alleged incidents

Weak
Weak: Single source claim, though sometimes featuring significant information.
99–115

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

89 separate alleged incidents

Contested
Contested: Competing claims of responsibility e.g. multiple belligerents, or casualties also attributed to ground forces.
264–435

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

48 separate alleged incidents

Discounted
Discounted: Those killed were combatants, or other parties most likely responsible.
301

Civilian deaths were Discounted by Airwars after assessment.

2 separate alleged incidents

Reported civilian deaths from Turkish military 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 Turkish military 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

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