Pentagon Admits to Only Tiny Fraction of Civilians Killed in Iraq and Syria

240 Incidents Reported in October, Pentagon Would Only Accept Five

US-led coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria over the course of October produced 240 individual instances in which civilian casualties were reported. Airwars documented a substantial number of civilian deaths in that time.

But it’s the end of the month, and that means it’s now time for the Pentagon to offer blanket denials and claim none of it happened. Their official reckoning for this month was particularly galling, as of 240 incidents, they admitted five of them were “credible,” and dismissed everything else.

What does that add up to? 15 dead civilians according to the Pentagon, over the entire month of US airstrikes, and despite several individual incidents over the course of that month which each killed well more than that individually.

The Pentagon has been consistently under-counting the number of dead civilians throughout the war, and often struggles to admit to even 10% of the deaths documented elsewhere. Though it is routine for them to dismiss the most serious incidents as never having happened, they seem to be increasingly brazen, and are now accepting almost no responsibility for the many people they’ve killed.

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.