Operation Inherent Resolve

 

Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve Casualty

By | Combined Joint Task Force - Operation Inherent Resolve | November 25, 2016

During the month of October, CJTF-OIR received 18 reports of possible civilian casualties resulting from Coalition strikes in Iraq and Syria in the fight to defeat ISIL. Twelve of these reports were determined to be non-credible, three were determined to be credible, and three reports are still being assessed. Coalition strikes are defined as strikes conducted by ground artillery or air strikes authorized as part of the Coalition Air Tasking Order.

CJTF-OIR takes all reports of civilian casualties seriously and assesses all incidents as thoroughly as possible. Although we are unable to fully investigate all reports of possible civilian casualties using traditional investigative methods, such as interviewing witnesses and examining the site, the Coalition interviews pilots, reviews strike video when available, and analyzes information provided by government agencies, non-governmental organizations, partner forces and traditional and social media. In addition, we consider new information when it becomes available in order to promote a thorough and continuous review process.

After a thorough review of the facts and circumstances of each alleged civilian casualty report, CJTF-OIR assessed that the following 12 reports received in October are non-credible. Non-credible means that at this time there is not sufficient evidence available to determine that, more likely than not, a Coalition strike resulted in alleged civilian casualties.

1. Sept. 20, 2015, near Ramadi, Iraq: Insufficient evidence available to determine credibility.

2. Oct. 9, 2015, near Kabaisa, Iraq: Insufficient evidence available to determine credibility.

3. Feb. 15, 2016, near Hama, Iraq: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographical area.


4. May 5, 2016, near Aleppo, Syria: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographical area.

5. June 12, 2016, near Dayr az Zawr, Syria: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographical area.

6. July 19, 2016, near Aleppo, Syria: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographical area.

7. Sept. 19, 2016, near Kabaisa, Iraq: Report indicated civilians in a house were killed, but the only strike in the area that day was on a moving vehicle in a remote area.

8. Oct. 1, 2016, near Ghaytun, Syria: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographical area.

9. Oct. 1, 2016, near Dayr az Zawr, Syria: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographical area.

10. Oct. 3, 2016, near Mar’a, Syria: Further examination affirms that only Da’esh fighters were killed in the strike.

11. Oct. 5, 2016, near Aleppo, Syria: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographical area.

12. Oct. 6, 2016, near Aleppo, Syria: No Coalition strikes were conducted on that day in the geographical area.

Although the Coalition makes extraordinary efforts to strike military targets in a manner that minimizes the risk of civilian casualties, in some cases casualties are unavoidable. Four past reports of possible civilian casualties and three of the reports received in October were determined to be credible resulting in the unintended death of 54 civilians.

A credible assessment means that it is more likely than not a Coalition strike resulted in a civilian casualty. In each of the cases below, the investigation determined that although all precautions were taken and the strikes complied with the Law of Armed Conflict, civilian casualties unfortunately occurred.

1. March 31, 2016, near Sala Heya, Syria: During a strike on an ISIL mortar system, it was assessed that three civilians were inadvertently killed by Coalition counter-battery artillery near the point of origin of an ISIL mortar strike on friendly forces.

2. May 16, 2016, near As Shaddadi, Syria: During a strike on seven ISIL fighters in a moving vehicle, it was assessed that two civilians were inadvertently killed. One civilian passenger in the vehicle was killed and one civilian riding a motorcycle was killed when he came into proximity of the ISIL vehicle after the munition was released.

3. July 18, 2016, near Manbij, Syria: During a strike that killed nearly 100 ISIL fighters, and destroyed 13 fighting positions, seven ISIL vehicles, two VBIEDs, a tactical vehicle, and a mortar system, it is assessed that up to 24 civilians who had been interspersed with combatants were inadvertently killed in a known ISIL staging area where no civilians had been seen in the 24 hours prior to the attack. Reports indicated that approximately 100 ISIL fighters were preparing for a large counterattack against partnered Syrian Arab Coalition/Syrian Democratic Forces and, unknown to Coalition planners, civilians were moving around within the military staging area, even as other civilians in the nearby village had departed over the previous days.

4. July 28, 2016, near Arghanndorh, Syria: During a strike on a moving ISIL vehicle, 15 civilians were inadvertently killed when the munition struck the vehicle after it slowed in a populated area after the munition was released.

5. Oct. 4, 2016, near Taltanah, Syria: During a strike targeting ISIL fighters it is assessed that one civilian was inadvertently killed as a result of the blast following the strike.

6. Oct. 17, 2016, near Idlib, Syria: During a strike on ISIL fighters it is assessed that one civilian was inadvertently killed when he entered the target area after the munition was released.

7. Oct. 22, 2016, near Fasitiyah, Iraq: During a strike on a building from which ISIL fighters were firing on partnered Iraqi forces, eight civilians were inadvertently killed.

Currently, three reports received in October are still being assessed:

1. Oct. 6, 2016, near As Shaddadi, Syria.

2. Oct. 22, 2016, near Qaraqosh and Hasana, Iraq.

3. Oct. 23, 2016, near Qaraqosh and Hasana, Iraq.

To date, based on information available, CJTF-OIR has assessed it is more likely than not that, since the start of Operation Inherent Resolve, 173 civilians have been inadvertently killed by Coalition strikes. We regret the unintentional loss of civilian lives resulting from Coalition efforts to defeat ISIL in Iraq and Syria and express our deepest sympathies to the families and others affected by these strikes.


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