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Press Release | Sept. 29, 2017

Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve Monthly Civilian Casualty Report


Sept. 29, 2017
Release # 20170929-03

SOUTHWEST ASIA - Since Coalition operations to free the people of Syria and Iraq from ISIS control began in 2014, Coalition partners have returned more than 83% of ISIS-held land to local populations and governance. The effort has liberated more than six million Syrians and Iraqis.

Despite significant successes against ISIS, combat has taken a toll on populations suffering under the militant extremists, to include the brave Iraqis and Syrians engaged in direct combat with a terrorist organization that has killed countless innocent civilians during its brutal three-year occupation.

Iraqi Security Forces, including more than 115,000 trained by Coalition partners, continue to clear the last remaining pockets of ISIS in Hawija and western Anbar Province. The October 2016 to July 2017 battle to liberate Mosul reflects a significant sacrifice by our Iraqi partners, who lost 1,200-1,500 personnel in action, with an approximate 8,000 more wounded.

The Syrian Democratic Forces, who continue to defeat ISIS in Dayr Az Zawr Province and Raqqah, have suffered similarly in efforts to rid their nation of ISIS, with approximately 1100 troops killed and 3900 more wounded in the ongoing fight.

The Coalition and our partner forces in Iraq and Syria take extraordinary care to protect the civilian population. We take all reports of civilian casualties seriously and assess all reports as thoroughly as possible. Investigations include interviewing witnesses and examining the site where possible, interviewing pilots and other personnel involved in the targeting process, reviewing strike and surveillance video, and analyzing information provided by government agencies, non-governmental reports, partner forces, and traditional and social media. We consider new information when it becomes available to ensure a thorough and continuous review process.

In the month of August, CJTF-OIR carried over 455 open reports of possible civilian casualties from previous months and received 80 new reports resulting from Coalition strikes (artillery or air) in support of partner force operations to defeat ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

During this period, the Coalition completed the assessment of 185 reports: 168 were assessed to be non-credible, three were assessed to be duplicates of previous reports, and 14 were assessed to be credible, resulting in 50 unintentional civilian deaths. To date, based on information available, CJTF-OIR assesses at least 735 civilians have been unintentionally killed by Coalition strikes since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve. A total of 350 reports are still open and being assessed at the end of the month.

The Coalition conducted a total of 26,026 strikes that included 53,948 separate engagements between August 2014 and August 2017. During this period, the total number of reports of possible civilian casualties was 1250. The total number of credible reports of civilian casualties during this time period was 178. The percent of engagements that resulted in a report of possible civilian casualties was 2.32%. The percent of engagements that resulted in a credible report of civilian casualties was .33%.

After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of each civilian casualty report, CJTF-OIR assessed the following 168 reports as non-credible: at this time there is insufficient information to assess that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in civilian casualties.