RAF ‘killed 4,000 enemies and only one civilian’ in Iraq and Syria

RAF strikes in Iraq and Syria killed and injured an estimated 4,315 enemies with just one civilian fatality, according to estimated figures released by the Ministry of Defence.

The figures, covering a period from September 2014 to January this year, were released following a Freedom of Information (FoI) request by the campaign group Action on Armed Violence (A0AV).

They suggest that of the 4,315 combatants targeted, 4,013 were reported to have been killed (93%) while 302 (7%) survived with injuries.

In total, 75% of those estimated to have been killed or injured were in Iraq with 25% in Syria.

An RAF Typhoon at RAF Akrotiri
Of all enemies estimated killed and wounded by the RAF, 37% were by Typhoons (pictured), 31% by Tornados and 32% by Reapers (Sergeant Emily Burns/MoD/PA)

AOAV executive director Iain Overton greeted the figures with scepticism, saying: “The RAF’s claim of a ratio of one civilian casualty against 4,315 enemies must be a world record in modern conflict. Yet few conflict experts believe this to be true.”

“The MoD notes in the FoI released information that ‘information concerning enemy killed and wounded in action is based on the best available post-strike analysis’. This information, however, is only given as an estimate as the UK is not in a position to visit airstrike sites inside Syria and verify the facts.

“To them, it is clear that far more needs to be done by the UK to improve transparency surrounding civilian casualties from airstrikes. Its coalition partner the US has committed to such, so why not the UK?”

Syria conflict
Three buildings used by Islamic State in eastern Syria being hit in air strikes by Royal Air Force fighter jets (MoD/PA)

It is understood the MoD has carried out more than 1,700 strikes during the campaign, reporting only the one civilian casualty during an operation on March 26 last year. The individual died after crossing into the strike area on a motorbike moments before the blast, the MoD said.

Three IS fighters, who were driving in the Syrian Euphrates valley at the time, were also killed by the precision Hellfire missile.

Of all enemies estimated killed and wounded by the RAF, 37% were by Typhoons, 31% by Tornados and 32% by Reapers.

An MoD spokeswoman said: “After every British airstrike we conduct detailed battle damage assessment, which thoroughly examines the outcome of the strike against its target, be it Daesh fighters, weapons, or bases.

“This assessment also looks very carefully at whether or not there has been any civilian casualty or damage to civilian infrastructure.”

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