During 2014, the number of casualties in Iraq increased dramatically. At least 48,590 were killed and 26,516 were wounded. The surge in violence began shortly before the start of the year when the government forcibly closed a protest camp in Anbar province. By midyear, Islamic State militants from Syria had taken advantage of the situation, brutally co-opting the rebellion in Anbar, and wreaking havoc elsewhere in the country.
In this column, Antiwar.com compiled 16,229 civilian and security deaths, and 30,634 militant deaths. At least 26,516 people were wounded, which includes the 2,184 militants known injured.
Iraq Body Count gave a higher civilian-only tally, compiling 17,956 fatalities. A wide range, between 4,000 and 30,000, was given for combatant deaths, including both pro-government and ISIS/DAASH forces. The imprecise nature of the reporting was a factor in establishing a range instead of an estimate. This figure would make 2014 the third deadliest year since 2003.
Combining the highest figures, we estimate that 48,590 were killed during 2014. This is only a rough guess. Due to the nature of the conflict, a precise figure will likely never be available, even after the country stabilizes.
Accurate figures from behind the ISIS/DASH lines are impossible. Several mass graves have already been detected in newly recaptured territory, but they have remained closed (and the victims uncounted) owing to security concerns. It could be that many victims will never be located.
The number of combatant casualties itself has likely been exaggerated in two directions. These figures are provided mostly by the Iraqi government, which apparently undercounts the official number of security personnel who perished. On occasion, local officials or military personnel have mentioned higher numbers than were officially reported.
Likewise, they may be overcounting the number of militants killed in clashes and airstrikes for propaganda purposes. However, they cannot gauge how many of the militants who escaped the fighting were injured, taken back to their camp, and ultimately died. Furthermore, vague counts such as “many killed” are reported here, but they do not contribute to Antiwar.com’s final figure.
In December, Antiwar.com found that 1,053 civilian and security members were killed, while 890 people more were wounded. Militant forces lost 3,847 fighters and another 178 of them were wounded.
At least 112 were killed and seven were wounded in the latest fighting and attacks:
Militants executed 15 members of the al-Jamilat tribe in Falluja.
A Coalition airstrike killed a man and a woman at their home in Mosul.
In Baghdad, a sticky bomb killed a man.
A body, belonging to an assistant pharmacist who was kidnapped yesterday, was found in Basra.
A landmine in Iskandariya wounded a man and his son.
Two civilians were killed in separate shootings on the outskirts of Muqdadiya.
Security forces killed 51 militants in the Samarra region.
In al-Baghdadi, seven militants were killed.
Ten militants were killed during clashes with Peshmerga forces in Sultan Abdullah village.
Militants in Khalidiya executed nine of their own men.
Security forces killed three militants and wounded four more in al-Hajaj.
A senior militant leader was killed during Coalition airstrikes in Mosul.
An airstrike in al-Zor killed five militants.
Many militants were killed or wounded in Garma.