US Air War on ISIS Killing Civilians, But How Many?

No Real Efforts to Count Civilian Deaths in Airstrikes

US airstrikes around Jawsag, near Mosul, killed or wounded at least seven civilians today, including an unspecified number of children. Such vague reports of civilian casualties are now a near daily occurrence in the ISIS air war, but who’s counting?

Not the US, surely, as the Pentagon has insisted they have no information on any of the repeated reports of civilian deaths, and rejected any responsible for large numbers of slain civilians, particularly in Syria.

Rebel mouthpiece the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights seems to be hazarding an attempt to count the toll inside Syria, putting the number of civilians killed in the US and coalition campaign at at least 50.

In Iraq the attempts to count are even less formal, though the number in Iraq is likely to be considerably higher, with multiple reports that US warplanes have attacked ISIS-held towns, hitting crowded marketplaces full of civilians.

The US air campaign in Syria, so far, has focused on the outskirts of Kobani, trying to drive advancing ISIS fighters back, and the civilian deaths in Syria have come in the sideline attacks on Nusra and Islamic Front forces in held towns. In Iraq, almost all of the strikes are against held towns, meaning the risk is much greater.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of