US Airstrikes May Have Killed 64 Civilians

After months of reviewing reports and databases to resolve cases in which coalition airstrikes may have resulted in civilian casualties, U.S. Central Command officials have determined that over the past year, 24 U.S. airstrikes targeting the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant may have killed as many as 64 civilians and injured eight others in Iraq and Syria.

We have teams who work full-time to prevent unintended civilian casualties,” Centcom spokesman Air Force Col. John J. Thomas said.

A key tenet of the counter-ISIL air campaign is to avoid adding to the tragedy of the situation by inflicting additional suffering, the colonel said.

Sometimes civilians bear the brunt of military action,” he added, “but we do all we can to minimize those occurrences, even at the cost of sometimes missing the chance to strike valid targets in real time.

Thorough Review

Centcom thoroughly reviewed the facts and circumstances surrounding each report, officials said.

The assessments determined that in each of these strikes, the right processes were followed,” Thomas said. “Each complied with Law of Armed Conflict, and significant precautions were taken, despite the unfortunate outcome.

Centcom officials said the investigations were informed by the military’s own records, combined with an exhaustive review of reports from outside sources from news media reports, nongovernmental organizations and other U.S. government departments and agencies.

Thomas said the numbers of casualties associated with each individual airstrike reflect the highest possible total possible, according to the assessment.

In most every case, when we determined there may have been civilian casualties from one of our airstrikes, we are choosing to list the largest number of possible civilian casualties,” he said. “In cases where we just don’t have the investigative resources or evidence to determine precisely how many people may have died, we went with the worst-case number to ensure a full accounting.

List of Reviewed Airstrikes

Here are the 24 airstrikes officials reviewed, along with the casualty assessments:

  • In a Nov. 20, 2015, strike against an ISIL tactical unit near Dayr Az Zawr, Syria, officials assessed that five civilians were killed and three individuals were injured after the civilians entered the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In a March 5, 2016, strike against an ISIL weapons production facility near Mosul, Iraq, it is assessed that 10 civilians were killed.
  • In a March 24, 2016, strike against an ISIL target near Qayyarah, Iraq, it is assessed that one civilian was killed.
  • In an April 1, 2016, strike against ISIL tactical unit near Raqqah, Syria, it is assessed that three civilians were killed after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In an April 9, 2016, strike against an ISIL tactical unit near Mosul, it is assessed that one civilian was killed after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In an April 30, 2016, strike against ISIL military leadership near Mosul, it is assessed that five civilians were killed after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In a May 25, 2016, strike against an ISIL tactical unit near Mosul, it is assessed that one civilian was killed.
  • In a May 26, 2016, strike against ISIL fighters near Mosul, it is assessed that one civilian was killed after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In a May 29, 2016, strike against an ISIL weapons system near Mosul, it is assessed that six civilians were killed.
  • In a June 15, 2016, strike against an ISIL weapons storage facility near Kisik, Iraq, it is assessed that six civilians were killed.
  • In a June 15, 2016, strike against ISIL targets near Mosul, it is assessed that two individuals were injured after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In a June 21, 2016, strike targeting an ISIL headquarters building near Raqqah, it is assessed that three individuals were killed after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In a June 23, 2016, strike against an ISIL-held building near Raqqah, it is assessed that four civilians were killed after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In a June 26, 2016, strike against an ISIL target near Mosul, it is assessed that one individual was injured after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In a June 26, 2016, strike against an ISIL target near Mosul, it is assessed that one individual was injured after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In a July 3, 2016, strike against an ISIL fighting position near Manbij, Syria, it is assessed that four civilians were killed.
  • In a July 10, 2016, strike against an ISIL target near Manbij, it is assessed that two civilians were killed.
  • In a July 14, 2016, strike on an ISIL-held building near Qayyarah, it is assessed that one civilian was killed.
  • In a July 31, 2016, strike against ISIL fighters near Manbij, it is assessed that one civilian was injured after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In an Aug. 17, 2016, strike against an ISIL target near Raqqah, it is assessed that two civilians were killed.
  • In an Aug. 20, 2016, strike against an ISIL artillery firing position near Manbij, it is assessed that one civilian was killed after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In an Aug. 31, 2016, strike against an ISIL target near Ramadi, Iraq, it is assessed that two civilians were killed.
  • In a Sept. 7, 2016, strike against an ISIL oil collection point near Dayz Az Zawr, it is assessed that one civilian was killed after entering the target area after the aircraft released its weapon.
  • In a Sept. 10, 2016, strike against an ISIL target near Raqqah, it is assessed that five civilians were killed.

(Source: US Dept of Defense)

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