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US-led coalition admits to ‘unintentionally’ killing over 1,300 civilians in air strikes

Today, May 31st 2019, the US-led coalition has announced that it has unintentionally killed more than 1,300 civilians in air strikes during its fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria since 2014.

In the statement the coalition admits to killing at least 1,302 civilians between August 2014 and the end of April 2019, having conducted 34,502 strikes. A further 111 additional claims of civilian deaths are still being assessed and the coalition is ready to assess new evidence or allegations.

However, this civilian death toll is still far lower than many estimate. Airwars, an NGO which monitors civilian casualties from air strikes worldwide, estimates more than 7,900 civilians have been killed in coalition raids. While, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a Britain-based monitor, says coalition strikes have taken the lives of 3,800 civilians in Syria alone.

Action on Armed Violence (AOAV) monitors deaths and injuries from incidents of explosive weapons globally as reported in English-language media. AOAV has recorded 5,319 civilian casualties (4,043 deaths and 1,276 injuries) as a result of US-led coalition airstrikes in Syria and Iraq – 70% of casualties occurred in Syria and 30% in Iraq.

Over 50% of all civilian casualties took place in 2017; the year of the US-led coalition’s campaigns to liberate Raqqa and Mosul from ISIS.

AOAV has carried out further investigations into the US-led coalition’s rules of engagement governing airstrikes, available here.