Scepticism over casualty claims as new data suggests some UK drones may have moved

Kobani air strike
Coalition air strike in Kobani, Syria

New data about UK military operations in Iraq and Syria has been released to Drone Wars UK and Vice News over the past few days following separate Freedom of Information (FoI) requests.

Vice News obtained details of the number of combatants killed or wounded in RAF strikes each month since Oct 2014.  The data shows that just under 1,000 combatants had been killed with almost 100 wounded.  While the MoD are extremely careful to say they cannot Read more

500 days of British drone operations in Iraq and Syria

Today (4 March 2016) marks 500 days since British Reaper drones first deployed over Iraq (22 Oct 2014) and then Syria in their operations against ISIS.  In that time, according to our analysis of the MoD updates on air strikes against ISIS (Daesh), there have been 250 British drone strikes in Iraq and 17 in Syria  out of a total of 796 British air strikes (not including the Reyaad Khan strike on Aug 21 which MoD insists was not part of Operation Shader). Read more

Huge increase in British air strikes over past 3 months

Analysis of information released by the Ministry of Defence shows a huge rise in the number of British air strikes against ISIS in Iraq since October 2015.  In addition our analysis also shows that the UK’s adoption of the US methodology for counting air strikes means that official MoD strike figures undercount strikes by around 30% compared with the traditional British methodology.

Increased British air strikes in Iraq

UK strikes (31Jan2016)

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UK drone and air strikes in 2015 – a look at the data

Analysing updates published by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) of RAF operations in Iraq and Syria give something of an insight into the use of drones and aircraft for strikes by British forces in 2015.  The updates do not give a complete picture as some strikes are omitted (for example the targeted killing of Reyaad Khan) and the number of strikes recorded in the reports do not match officially published figures. Nevertheless they do give a broad indication of British air operations against ISIS. (Note the MoD’s definition of a ‘strike’ and how it calculates the number of a strikes it has launched is extremely convoluted and has changed during the year – see this explanation from the MoD.

Strikes in Iraq

UK-drone-air-strikes-2015 by month- c

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New figures on UK drone use in Iraq and Syria

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has released new data on UK drone operations in Iraq and Syria to Drone Wars in response to a Freedom of Information request. The data covers Reaper operations in Iraq and Syria in the third quarter of the year (June – Sept 2015) as well as new data on British Tornado missions and strikes since the beginning of operations against ISIS.

The table below give details of UK drone operations in Iraq and Syria since the beginning of the year (data for whole operation is here). Note figures here use the ‘UK methodology’ for calculating number of strikes (see more below). Read more

UK air and drone strikes in Iraq – a look at the data

Since British military operations against ISIS began last September the MoD has been publishing brief updates of its military activity in Iraq on its website (see here). These updates include some details of strikes undertaken by both British Reaper drones and the UK’s dedicated strike aircraft, the Tornado. We now have 12 months of updates (Sept 14 – Aug 15) and while most but not all strikes have been included in these updates it does allow us to make some initial comparisons.

!UK strikes iraq-sep-Aug15

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