Kurdish force finds mass grave in Iraq's Sinjar

Officials say there could be hundreds of sites containing Yazidi bodies across the town just reclaimed from ISIL.

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    Sinjar, Iraq - A grim discovery has been made in the Iraqi town of Sinjar as Kurdish fighters who claimed victory over the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, entered the war-torn community and found at least one mass grave containing the bodies of Yazidis.

    Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga fighters said they dug up bones, hair and personal items, evidence of what they said was ISIL brutality.

    Hussein Haffoun, an adviser to the Kurdish regional government, told Al Jazeera that the grave found by the Peshmerga contains 76 bodies, including that of young women.

    Haffoun said that the attack occurred on August 15, 2014, and that it could qualify as a genocide.

    He said that young girls who escaped from ISIL told investigators about the details of the mass killing.

     

    Authorities told Al Jazeera there could be hundreds of mass grave sites across Sinjar.

    According to the US, ISIL killed at least 3,000 Yazidi men and women, when the group took control of the region in June.

    The Yazidi community practises an ancient religion, and ISIL considers them heretics.

    The Yazidis were then either forced to convert to Islam, or killed, while the women became sex slaves for the fighters.

    The brutal treatment of Yazidis prompted international condemnation and spurred the US and its allies to launch air strikes against ISIL.

    The head of the local intelligence department told Al Jazeera investigators are trying to document the evidence being gathered so far.

    "We keep finding evidence of their actions, and this needs to be documented and recorded," Qassim Simo said.

    Some of the evidence of ISIL's killings, however, may have been lost as some areas were badly hit by US air strikes and Peshmerga shelling.

    But for Yazidis, there is relief that some evidence is now being discovered.

    Naib Jassim, a Yazidi, said that members of his family were buried in the mass grave discovered by authorities.

    "We understand this is war. We know people will die. But this is more. We will never forget what they did here, and we will have our revenge."

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera


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