Coalition: At least 801 civilians killed since start of anti-ISIS campaign
The U.S.-led coalition fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) has killed at least 801 civilians since the start of the campaign in 2014, the coalition said Thursday in its monthly civilian casualty report.
The coalition, which has come under fire for allegedly undercounting civilian deaths, also said it is “constantly improving” its ability to investigate allegations of casualties.
“The coalition is constantly improving its visibility on and accountability for allegations,” the report said. “From October through early November, the Coalition Civilian Casualty Assessment Team traveled throughout the region and reviewed procedures and processes to increase efficiency of assessments.”
“The team also trained approximately 30 members of coalition components in the assessment process to ensure allegations of civilian casualties are addressed as quickly as possible. We continue to hold ourselves accountable for actions that may have caused unintentional injury or death to civilians,” according to the report.
The coalition has long been accused of severely underreporting the number of civilian casualties. Prominent monitor Airwars estimates the number killed at 5,961.
Earlier this month, The New York Times published the results of an 18-month, on-the-ground investigation that said one in five of the coalition strikes it identified resulted in at least one civilian death, a rate more than 31 times that acknowledged by the coalition.
In Thursday’s coalition report, the coalition assessed 66 reports of casualties, 55 of which it deemed “non-credible” for reasons including insufficient information to assess the allegation and no coalition strikes being conducted where the casualties were alleged.
Another four of the allegations were deemed to be duplicates of previous reports.
The remaining five reports of civilian casualties were deemed credible and resulted in 15 civilian deaths, the report said.
“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 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.”
Another 695 reports are still being assessed, the coalition added.