Since IS was formed (including the time it was knows as ISIS), how many non-combatants were killed by IS-affiliated forces or individuals?

I'm interested in the ballpark figure, not splitting hairs about whether some guy's attack was or was not IS-attributable. So up to 25% more or less than the "actual" number would be an ok estimate for me. Of course - please back up your numbers. Also, please state which definition of "non-combatant" you're using (again - anything reasonable will do, I'm not nit-picking here; just not "anyone we can get away with classifying that way").

If you only have an answer valid for until, say, the end of 2016, that's not optimal but would also help.

  • 5
    While a useful and interesting question, I'm not really sure if this is also a politics question (and thus on-topic here)?
    – user11249
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 22:42
  • I'm with @Carpetsmoker. This doesn't seem to be a political question.
    – Machavity
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 23:20

1 Answer 1


My definition of non-combatant will be civilian.

According to the National Consortium for the Study of Terrorism and Responses to Terrorism around 33,000 people were killed by ISIS or ISIS affiliated troops between 2002-2015, but it doesn't specify if they were civilians.

According to the UN 6,878 civilians died in Iraq last year in violence mainly inflicted by ISIS. They keep a running tally every month which can be found here

By 2016 ISIS had killed roughly 1200 people mostly civilians outside of Iraq and Syria.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights estimated in 2013, that 46,266 civilians had died so far in the Syrian conflict.

UNHCR reported in 2015 there estimates of civilian casualties in the Syrian conflict but didn't specify who killed them

From 1 January 2014 through 31 October 2015, UNAMI/OHCHR recorded at least 55,047 civilian casualties as a result of the conflict, with 18,802 people killed and 36, 245 wounded

The Syrian Network For Human Rights released a report in March 2017, which claims that 206,923 civilians have died in the Syrian conflict of which only 3352 were killed by ISIS (The full report is available here). This is a strange number in some regards because Airwars estimates a minimum of 3,962 civilians killed by coalition (American and NATO allies) air-strikes. So it would seem the American forces had killed more civilians in Syria than ISIS have.

So the only two number I could find which specify civilians killed by ISIS seems to be 3352 + 1200 = 4552.

Disclaimer: These numbers are realistically likely to be unreliable as there is very little accurate data to suggest the exact numbers killed by each force in the Syrian Civil War.

  • 1
    Does this include non-combat death? Like execution or complications of fleeing.
    – user9389
    Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 23:33
  • @notstoreboughtdirt Yes i believe this includes executions but it excludes people who indirectly die as a consequence of ISIS such as complications of fleeing Commented Jun 13, 2017 at 23:35
  • Just wanted to note that about double as many civilians, if not more, were killed by the anti-IS coalition during the Mosul campaign alone. Over all anti-IS actions (incl. US, FSA/Turkey, SAA, SDF) I would not be surprised if that number reaches 5 to 10 times as many. Sad.
    – einpoklum
    Commented Sep 15, 2017 at 13:45

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