A woman looks at an Iraqi soldier standing guard
A woman looks at an Iraqi soldier standing guard. Iraq Body count warns that civilian deaths will continue to rise despite US troops withdrawing REUTERS

The scale of human loss caused by the Iraq conflict has been starkly drawn by a report showing more than 123,000 civilian deaths over the nine year campaign.

Thousands are expected to continue to die in the war torn country following the withdrawal of U.S.-led coalition troops.

The report released by Iraq Body Count, which has maintained an accurate tally of fatalities throughout the war, has found "no noticeable downward trend" in civilian deaths since mid-2009,when British troops were withdrawn.

It shows that as coalition forces have pulled out of the region, deaths caused by Iraqi state forces has increased, maintaining the cycle of violence.

"Recent trends indicate a persistent low-level conflict in Iraq that will continue to kill civilians at a similar rate for years to come," the report warns.

"While these data indicate no improvement, time will tell whether the withdrawal of US forces will have an effect on casualty levels."

The data, compiled from more than 90 sources and covering 1,874 incidents, found that US forces killed "far more" civilians than any other members of the US-led coalition.

Combining IBC data with official Iraq and Us combatant death figures gives a final toll of 162,000 killed, 79 per cent of which are civilians, with more than 9,000 of those being Iraq police.

"Of the 45,779 victims from which IBC was able to obtain age data, 3,911 (8.54 percent) were children under age 18", the report adds.

Small-arms gunfire was the biggest killer, claiming 60,024 civilian lives, with explosives such as suicide bombs, IEDs and aerial bombardment, killing 37,840. Air-strikes killed 5,648.

More than half of all of the civilian deaths during the conflict took place during the "Shock and Awe" campaign of the 2003 invasion, which saw widespread bombing and air-strikes, and the sieges of Fallujah in 2004.

During early weeks of the invasion, civilian deaths averaged 317 per day, totalling more than 6,640 buy April 9, "nearly all" attributable to coalition forces.

"It has taken nearly the past two years of violence (resulting in some 8,000 deaths) by all parties to exceed the coalition-caused invasion civilian death toll of those first weeks of the conflict in March-April 2003," the report concludes.

The IBC made use of the Wikileaks released Iraq War Logs, which found an addition 15,000 civilian deaths, 3000 of which were police, not previously recorded in death tolls. Only 1,363 of these deaths have been added to the IBC database so far, with further analysis expected to see the tally increase.

"As we had long suspected, many of the previously unreported deaths caused by US-led forces found in the Iraq War Logs were of small-scale, but frequent "Escalation of Force" (EOF) cases where ordinary civilians were shot in their cars at checkpoints or similar circumstances due to a variety of tragic, and often shocking, failures in communication," the report adds.