Conflicting Truth

“There were so many shells falling on us, it was like rain. My hand, the one holding up Khaled’s head, got cut off,” Barakat explained to NPR last year. “Am I Baghdadi? How is this my fault? I’m just a civilian. I didn’t have any weapons. We’re farmers. I make less than a dollar a day. Now I’m handicapped, and my two friends are in their graves.”

Barakat Barakat

To mark the UN’s Protection of Civilians Week 2020, Airwars and design partners Rectangle are livestreaming the names of the 8,337 civilians killed in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Somalia in recent years. The project, titled Conflicting Truth, was originally displayed in Detroit in March 2019. It was due to be exhibited in New York this year but was moved online due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Since its founding in August 2014, Airwars has used local news organisations, social media and official sources to monitor civilian casualties in a number of conflicts. Over this period it has recorded more than 119,000 civilian deaths and injuries, 8,337 of which can be named and attributed to a specific belligerent. This project seeks to commemorate the humans behind these statistics and while also calling for improved accountability in military actions.

In Airwars words:

“The Airwars/ Rectangle project seeks to show that those killed and injured in conflict are not mere statistics – they are people with names, friends and families. Their loss inflicts severe pain on relatives, and the communities they belong to.”


The livestream is accessible on the 26th and 27th of May here.

More information about this project can be found on the Airwars website here.

More information about the UN’s Protection of Civilians Week (27th May – 1st June 2020) can be found here.