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138 Yazidi corpses exhumed for forensic analysis in Baghdad

Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to the Islamic State in Sinjar town, walk towards the Syrian border, on the outskirts of Sinjar mountain, near the Syrian border town of Elierbeh of Al-Hasakah Governorate August 10, 2014 [REUTERS/Rodi Said]
Displaced people from the minority Yazidi sect, fleeing violence from forces loyal to Daesh on 10 August 2014 [REUTERS/Rodi Said]

Some 138 corpses of Daesh victims have been sent to Baghdad for DNA testing after they were exhumed from ten mass graves in the Yazidi district of Sinjar in north-west Iraq, according to Kirkuk Now.

“Until now, ten mass graves have been exhumed in Kojo [a village in Sinjar] which contained the remains of 138 victims, most of them were males,” Major Falah Hasan, member of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) Board of Investigation and Evidence Collecting, told reporters.

“There are six more mass graves left to be exhumed in the village [of Kojo],” Hasan added.

Families of the victims – worried that rainfall would wash the corpses away – protested at the slow turnaround time for bodies to be exhumed. They have urged for DNA testing to take place so that funeral plans can be made.

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“The exhumation process is moving at a slow pace. There’s no doubt that the victims’ families want it to end soon but they should know this is an extremely complicated process”, said Hasan.

Sinjar District was captured by the militant group Daesh in August 2014 before being recaptured in November 2015. According to statistics from the Directorate of Yazidi Affairs, 80 mass graves have been discovered in the town in addition to a number of individual gravesites.

The figures indicate that 1,293 Yazidis were slaughtered by Daesh, while the fate of an estimated 3,000 – mostly women – remains unknown.

Sinjar is a territory disputed by both Iraq and the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region but the exhumation is a joint effort, attended by forensic teams from both governments.

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