At Airwars we've been modelling Coalition airstrike data since the start of operations in August 2014, enabling us to comprehensively model over time the war against Daesh. All of our graphs and tables are based on official data releases from the Coalition, and from individual member nations.
The term airstrike is imprecise. According to AFCENT, an average of 3.65 weapons were released by allied airstrike to October 2015, with allies admitting that multiple targets, aircraft actions and even locations might be labelled under any one ‘strike’ report.
Source: Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve
The chart shows all claimed civilian deaths from alleged Coalition airstrikes across both Iraq and Syria since August 2014, by category. Each event is individually reported in Civilian Casualties.
The chart shows all claimed civilian deaths from alleged Coalition and Russian airstrikes. Each event is individually reported in Civilian Casualties.
The US, France, Canada and UK prefer to report the number of strikes their aircraft carry out. In contrast the Netherlands, Denmark and Australia all report the number of weapons released. Overall weapons data is issued by AFCENT monthly.
CJTF-OIR intermittently issues overall figures for US and for allied strikes, for both Iraq and Syria.
The chart on the left shows US and allied strikes in Iraq, while the right-hand chart gives a breakdown of allied-only strikes. All data is drawn from official military reports of CJTF-OIR, France, UK, Belgium, Denmark, Netherlands, Australia and Canada. Where countries only issue data on weapons released, we estimate the number of strikes based on the overall average of weapons released per strike.
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By tracking occasional updates from CJTF-OIR we are able to build a picture of ongoing US and allied air operations in Syria.
By tracking occasional updates from CJTF-OIR we are able to build a picture of ongoing Western allied and Jordan air operations in Iraq.
Based on historical CENTCOM data and current reporting by CJTF-OIR, we can show airstrikes in Iraq dating back to 2006. The present air war represents the most intense aerial bombing of Iraq since the invasion of 2003.
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Coalition airstrikes in both Iraq and Syria are highly dependent on aerial intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) to provide targeting and post-strike assessment given the absence of ground troops. As our ongoing tracking of ISR operations shows, the coalition remains significantly under-resourced in comparison to Afghanistan.
After the swift capture of much of Iraq by Islamic State, the US began military actions at the invitation of the Iraqi government on August 8th 2014, focused mainly on airstrikes. It was later joined in its Iraq campaign by France (from September 19th); the UK (September 30th); Belgium (October 5th); the Netherlands (October 7th); Australia (October 8th); Denmark (October 16th); Canada (November 2nd) and Jordan (unspecified date.)
The US began Syrian operations against ISIL on September 23rd 2014, initially aided by Saudi Arabia; Jordan; the United Arab Emirates; Bahrain and Qatar. These actions did not have the consent of the Assad government - and most other Western nations have not engaged militarily. US targets in Syria have also included a faction of the Al Qaeda-affiliated al-Nusra Front, labelled the ‘Khorasan Group.’ On April 8th 2015, Canada also began airstrikes against ISIL in Syria, followed on August 26th by Turkey, by Australia on September 15th and by France on September 27th.
The coalition's war against ISIL has inevitably caused civilian casualties, certainly far more than the six deaths Centcom presently admits to. Yet it’s also clear that in this same period, many more civilians have been killed by Syrian and Iraqi government forces, by so-called Islamic State and by various rebel and militia groups operating on both sides of the border.
While our own focus is international airstrikes only [see our Methodology] we will always aim to place our work in its broader context - and highlight wherever possible the crucial work of other monitoring groups such as the Syrian Network for Human Rights; the Violations Documentation centre; SOHR and Iraq Body Count.
Here we have plotted every reported strike by given location for the Coalition in both Iraq and Syria, from the beginning of the war in August 2014. Some caution should be exercised as to precise locations however, with CJTF-OIR admitting many reported strike locations are approximations only (see also our Methodology).