Allegations of civilian casualties as a result of United States coalition airstrikes in Iraq and Syria have swelled so much since January that airstrike watchdog Airwars can’t keep track. Unable to keep up with the number of bombings by both Russia and the United States coalition, the organization announced today that it no longer has the resources to carry out its typical investigations of Russian airstrikes, and is devoting its resources to the US-led coalition bombing campaign only.
Airwars, a civilian casualty monitor established by journalists in 2014, is now concentrating all of its detailed investigatory work, relied upon by NGOs, peace campaigners, and the media, on “an unprecedented number” of alleged Coalition civilian casualty events.
For a small team, operating on an annual budget of less than $200,000, there just aren’t enough resources to continue the detailed assessment of alleged Russian actions in Syria, project leader Chris Woods told Motherboard over the phone today.
“Currently, for March, we’re tracking more than 100 alleged [civilian casualty] events for the Coalition so far, and around 50 alleged incidents from Russia this month,” said Woods. “That’s been the consistent pattern since January. By all accounts, Coalition strikes have been killing more civilians than Russian strikes. That trend is continuing.”
As an all source investigator, Airwars’ analysis of civilian casualty events is an exhaustive and time-consuming process.
“The first part is tracking the allegations. Our Iraqi and Syrian researchers track media and social media reports, militant rebel reports, and military reports,” Woods said.