(This article originally appeared at Antiwar at this link. Image credit: Antiwar, Getty)
by Margaret Griffis, January 01, 2017
At least 52,369 people were killed in Iraq during 2017. Another 21,795 were wounded.
According to figures compiled by Antiwar.com, at least 9,148 civilians, 6,430 security personnel, and 36,661 militants were killed. Also, three U.S. servicemen were killed in combat in Iraq. (A fourth one was killed fighting the Islamic State militants in Syria.) A British bomb disposal expert and 125 members of the Kurdistan Workers Party were killed as well. Two French soldiers, a British bomb disposal expert, and an Australian N.G.O. worker were wounded. These figures are similar to 2015’s, which were 52,045 killed and 19,651 wounded.
In December, at least 3,174 people were killed and 1,939 were wounded. Of these, 798 were civilians killed. Another 1,658 civilians were injured. Security forces lost 154 personnel, while another 177 were wounded. At least 2,181 militants were killed, and 104 were injured. Also, at least 41 Kurdistan Workers Party (P.K.K.) members were killed in Turkish airstrikes within Iraqi territory. These figures are likely to be low estimates.
Due to the nature of the conflict and the Iraqi government restricting the release of actual numbers, true counts are impossible to derive. Last month, when 5,719 people were reported killed and another 1,734 were wounded, the United Nations had given reasonable estimates that the Iraqi government later criticized. Subsequently, the U.N. said it would no longer publish estimates concerning security personnel. The U.N. did release its civilian estimates on Monday. The organizations operatives on the ground counted 386 civilian deaths and 1,066 injuries during December.
Occasionally, however, a glimpse into the extent of the bloodshed is given. For example, the head of the heath department in Erbil, Saman Barzinji, said on December 22 that about 7,595 injured people, including security personnel, had been taken to hospitals in Erbil during operations in Mosul. However, even assuming that the figure was accurate at the time, it only measures how many wounded arrived at hospitals within Barzinji’s jurisdiction. Many of the injured were treated at field hospitals or clinics closer to the fighting before being released.
Also, figures concerning the number of militants killed could be faulty. Baghdad may be exaggerating the numbers for propaganda purposes. Or, they may even be counting civilians as militants, perhaps accidentally. Without independent confirmation from behind enemy lines, these figures are likely never to be known fully.
In other news, French President Francois Hollande traveled to Iraq to visit with French troops and meet with Iraqi officials.
At least 342 were killed and 31 were wounded in more recent violence:
A booby-trapped flag killed an army officer and wounded three soldiers in Abu Garma.
An attack on Mtabijh left two militiamen dead and three wounded.
Clashes are ongoing near Baquba.
Islamic State militants captured a village in the Abu Saida region.