Last updated: December 28, 2014

MINI-DOCUMENTARY: Uncovering Islamic State mass graves on the Kobashi frontline

Banner Icon Investigative journalist Rozh Ahmad went to the Kobashi area in northern Iraq to meet with local peshmerga forces that have discovered mass graves.

The Kurdish peshmerga forces have recently recaptured the Kobashi heights in northern Iraq from IS jihadists and they keep finding mass graves of victims the jihadists killed when they were in control of the area. The victims include children, according to the peshmerga field commanders.

Kobashi is situated in Iraq's "disputed territories" around 75 miles northeast of Baghdad.

The IS jihadists were in control of the Kobashi area, the heights and the main highway for months. Since the peshmergas recaptured those areas they have found bones, hairs and body parts of victims the jihadists killed and left in mass graves scattering across the heights and the highway.

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THE VICTIMS WERE initially arrested by an IS checkpoint on the Kobashi main highway but were later lined up and shot dead into mass graves one after the other, the peshmerga commanders said. 

By the end of November, the peshmergas dug up one of the mass graves right after they captured the heights and quickly uncovered bodies of four victims.

"The victims include children, according to the peshmerga field commanders" 

However, the excavation was soon halted, as orders came that excavator machines shouldn't dig in mass graves because a special government medical team has do the job so they can also identify the killed.

The Kobashi frontline peshmergas have been waiting in vain for a government team to arrive and deal with the aftermath of this tragedy.  

MEANWHILE, the notorious wild dogs of Kobashi areas keep taking out body parts of the victims from the mass graves.

"It is a like a cat and mouse game. The wild dogs take out body parts of the poor victims from the mass graves at night and we cover them with soil in the morning. We do this because it is impermissible in Islam to leave the dead uncovered," said Sardar Hama-Latif, a peshmerga commander in charge of one of the peshmerga campsites at the Kobashi heights.     

"All we can do is use our shovels to cover the body parts of the victims that the wild dogs take out from the mass graves. A team must arrive either from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) or the Iraqi government to deal with these mass graves, so bodies of the victims are soon returned to their families and the spreading of disease is also prevented in these areas," he said. 

Rozh Ahmad
Rozh Ahmad is a journalist based in Paris. He grew up in England but has his roots in Iraq’s Kurdish region. In the last three years, Rozh has reported from and about Kurds in Europe, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Syria for various English and Kurdish publications.
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