Coalition acknowledges killing at least 855 civilians since start of ISIS war

Coalition acknowledges killing at least 855 civilians since start of ISIS war
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The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) acknowledged Wednesday killing 14 civilians in six separate strikes this year and last.

The addition brings the coalition’s count since the start of the war to 855 civilian deaths.

“Although the coalition takes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimizes the risk of civilian casualties, in some incidents casualties are unavoidable,” the coalition wrote in its latest monthly civilian casualty report, released Wednesday.

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The coalition has long been accused of severely undercounting the number of civilians it has killed. For example, prominent monitor Airwars says at least 6,238 civilians have been killed by the coalition since the start of the war in 2014.

In the latest report, the coalition finished assessing 84 reports of civilian casualties. Of that, the coalition found 78 to be “non-credible.”

“A finding of non-credible in many cases indicates a lack of evidence,” the report said. “’Non-credible’ is not intended to deny the possibility that a [civilian casualty] incident occurred, nor is it intended as a comment on the credibility on the source of the allegation.”

The remaining six reports were deemed to be credible, resulting in 14 civilian deaths.

“A credible assessment means it is more likely than not a coalition strike resulted in a civilian casualty,” the report said. “In each of the incidents below, the investigation assessed that although all feasible precautions were taken and the decision to strike complied with the law of armed conflict, unintended civilian casualties unfortunately occurred.”

The credible assessments in Wednesday’s report were

  • A May 3, 2017, strike near Islah al Zirai, Iraq, against an ISIS fighting position that killed two civilians and injured two. The report of casualties came to the coalition from Airwars.
  • An Aug. 13, 2017, strike near Raqqa, Syria, on an ISIS-controlled building that killed one civilian after the person entered the area of the strike.
  • An Aug. 17, 2017, strike near Raqqa on an ISIS fighting position killed three civilians when a scooter unintentionally entered the area of the strike.
  • An Oct. 12, 2017, strike near Al Badu, Syria, against an ISIS defensive fighting position that killed three civilians. The report of causalities came to the coalition via social media.
  • A Dec. 13, 2017, strike near Hajin, Syria, that killed a “known high-level ISIS member” also injured a civilian when a scooter entered the strike area.
  • A Jan. 9 strike near Abu Kamal, Syria, that killed an ISIS leader and 10 ISIS fighters and destroyed a car bomb near coalition partner forces also killed five civilians. 

The coalition said it continues to assess 522 reports of civilian casualties.