Mass graves of Yazidi Kurds discovered

Published November 28th, 2016 - 09:00 GMT
A displaced Iraqi man from the Yazidi community carries his daughter as they cross the Iraqi-Syrian border at the Fishkhabur crossing, in northern Iraq, on August 11, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Al-Rubaye)
A displaced Iraqi man from the Yazidi community carries his daughter as they cross the Iraqi-Syrian border at the Fishkhabur crossing, in northern Iraq, on August 11, 2014. (AFP/Ahmad Al-Rubaye)

Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters have found two mass graves in the country’s northern province of Nineveh, which are thought to be containing the bodies of more than a dozen Yazidi Kurds murdered by Daesh militants.

A local official said on condition of anonymity that the graves contain the remains of 18 Yazidi citizens and were found in Ayn Ash Shababit region near the Daesh-held city of Mosul, located some 400 kilometers (250 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, on Sunday.

Mahma Xelil, the mayor of Sinjar, said the latest discovery brings to 29 the number of Yazidi mass graves unearthed so far.

A number of other mass graves have been found by Kurdish Peshmerga forces over the past months, containing the remains of the Yazidi Kurdish minority, who were slain by Daesh.

Back in August 2014, Daesh militants overran Sinjar, killing, raping, and enslaving large numbers of Yazidi Kurds. The town was later recaptured on November 13, 2015, during a two-day operation by Peshmerga forces and Yazidi fighters.

The Office of Kidnapped Affairs in the northern Iraqi city of Duhok says around 3,500 Yazidi Kurds are being held captive in Daesh-held areas, and a large proportion of the abductees are women and children.

Additionally, Iraqi Air Force fighter jets carried out a series of airstrikes against Daesh positions in the strategic Tal al-Zalat region west of Mosul, killing 32 militants and destroying six vehicles belonging to them.

The aerial attacks were reportedly conducted in coordination with pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units.

Another 54 Daesh fighters were killed and five pickup trucks equipped with heavy machine guns destroyed as Iraqi jets struck militant hideouts in Mosul’s southern region of al-Masaed.

After months of preparation, Iraqi army soldiers, backed by pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, launched an operation on October 17 to retake Mosul from the Daesh fighters.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has vowed that Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city, will be fully recaptured by year-end.


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