US Admits Killing Civilians in Iraq, Syria; Far Understates Toll

Claims Only 61 Civilians Killed in July

The end of another month in the US war against ISIS means another official accounting of civilian deaths from the Pentagon, and as usual the official figure is dramatically smaller than the figures documented by NGOs.

For the month of July, the Pentagon found only 13 “credible” incidents across both Iraq and Syria, and a total of 61 civilians killed in US airstrikes. This is one of the highest figures admitted for a single month by US officials, despite being an obvious underestimation.

Airwars, a UK-based NGO that offers more comprehensive documentation, noted scores of US airstrike incidents, and several hundred killed in the strikes. Indeed, strikes in just the first week in the city of Mosul killed an estimated 300 civilians, while hundreds were killed elsewhere, including 99 killed in a single 72-hour span in Raqqa.

The biggest incidents reported by media outlets and other groups often find themselves excluded from the US reports, or on those rare occasions when they do find their way into Pentagon reports, scores of deaths get revised dramatically downward to a mere fraction of the actual count.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.