Conflict & Justice

She drops the kids at school then gets behind her computer to count the dead in Syria

This story is a part of

Seeking Security

This story is a part of

Seeking Security

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This is a still image from video taken Dec. 13, 2016 of bomb-damaged eastern Aleppo, Syria.

Credit:

Reuters

Every morning, Kinda Haddad logs into her computer at her home outside of London and tries to figure out how many civilians have been killed that day in Iraq and Syria.

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"I have a list of about 20 sites that I look at daily," she says.

Then, she heads over to social media sites and looks through the posts that were published in the past 24 hours.

What she's looking for are videos or photos that were taken at sites where bombs have been dropped.

"I then identify any allegations against the [US-led] coalition or Russia or any of the international actors in Syria," she explains.

Haddad is one of eight people who work for a nonprofit group called Airwars. Its mission is to count the number of civilian deaths in Syria and Iraq.

Haddad, who spoke extensively about her work with The Washington Post, says that she and her colleagues have a "mammoth document" where they record each incident.

"Anything we find about that incident, we put it in that section and once we finish the research, we can count how many are dead and how many are injured," she says.

Haddad says the main audience for Airwars is the media and military experts. CENTCOM has shown interest in their data, too.

In fact, Haddad explains, often Airwars and the US military cooperate in order to come up with a final and accurate number.

"At the beginning, I don't think [the relationship] was that cooperative but they seem to be willing to take the allegations seriously," she says.

Haddad's work isn't easy. Sometimes, she has to watch graphic videos or look at photos of dead bodies. She has to work with names, and sometimes she finds out they were children or women.

But that doesn't stop her from doing her job.

"It's not great but having said that, I suppose I'm in a much, much better position than all these people that are actually being killed," she says, "so I can't feel too sorry for myself."