3,799 Killed in Iraq During July; Kurds Believe Casualties Are Much Higher

Updated at 11:27 p.m. EDT, August 1, 2017

Antiwar.com has found that at least 3,799 were killed during July in Iraq. Another 366 were wounded. These figures are lower than the 4,928 killed and 1,630 wounded reported in June. With the liberation of Mosul complete, Iraqi forces have paused major operations against the Islamic State militants. In the coming weeks, Tal Afar and locations in Anbar are expected to be targeted.

Of those killed, 946 were civilians; 141 were security personnel; 2,698 were militants; and 14 were members of the Kurdistan Workers Party, who were killed by Turkish air or artillery strikes. Significantly fewer reports of wounded surfaced during the month. Only 174 civilians were reported wounded. Another 130 security personnel and 62 militants were known to have been injured.

The numbers are lowball estimates.

The Iraqi government has refused to release any official casualty figures for civilians or security personnel. Cemetery personnel in Najaf long ago admitted they were burying large numbers of security personnel, and there is no reason to suspect the number of dead has decreased dramatically despite the heavier fighting in Mosul. At one point, the government criticized the United Nations into ceasing their reports. The main reason for the secrecy is to keep morale high.

Kurdish intelligence, however, estimates that 40,000 civilians were killed during the nine-month-long liberation of Mosul. Many of the bodies remain uncounted under the rubble created by the heavy use of airstrikes and artillery fire. The Iraqi Army criticized the high number, claiming fewer than 1,500 civilians were killed, but the army’s figure seems absurdly low, as the morgue in Mosul recently reported processing dozens of bodies each day. An anonymous employee there was quoted as saying, “Iraq used to have two rivers: the Tigris and the Euphrates. Now we have a third: the river of blood.”

The number of injured is clearly undercounted, and there is little hope of learning the extent of wounded. Field hospitals report treating hundreds of patients on a daily basis, but only 174 made the Antiwar.com count. Last month, the United Nations unofficially reported on thousands of injured, but only counted 300 injured in their monthly release.

Reports on the number of militant casualties could be exaggerated, or they could simply be rough estimates, or they could signify something else. At least 1,000 militant deaths were reported in the battle for Old City district in Mosul alone. This seems likely. However, some of these dead could be family members of ISIS/Daesh members. Others may even be civilians who were accidentally killed. An accurate accounting may never see the light.

At least 127 were killed and seven were wounded in recent violence:

In Rawah, four civilians were killed and one was wounded in an airstrike.

In Baghdad, a blast killed three civilians in Maalef.

A bomb near Tawakkul killed a policeman and wounded two more.

Security forces killed 100 militants near the Syrian border.

A drone strike near Tal Afar left 12 militants dead.

In Albu Awad, an airstrike killed five militants.

A strike killed two militants and wounded five more in Hawija.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.