Mass grave of Yazidis found in northern Iraq

Eighty dead bodies of Yazidis discovered in village of Nineveh province in northern Iraq

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Updated Jul 28, 2015

According to a report published by the Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights, a mass grave of 80 Yazidis was found in a village west of Nineveh province in northern Iraq, Anadolu Agency has reported.

ISIS militants took over the the Yazidis’ homeland of Sinjar last August following a rapid offensive in June 2014 which saw the militants capture large swaths of land on the heels of the retreating Iraqi army. 

“[The mass grave] contained the remains of 80 Ezidi [Yazidi] citizens of different ages,” the ministry said in a statement.

After controlling the province, ISIS continued its advances to the west of Nineveh where a minority group of Yazidi people used to live.

The reports showed that massacres were committed by ISIS against the region’s occupants, whom ISIS consider to be “infidels and devil worshippers.”

The Yazidis, a Kurdish minority group practicing an ancient religion, have borne the brunt of ISIS militant group’s brutality. 

Similar to many other local ethnic, tribal, and religious groups, the Yazidis have been exposed to slavery, mass killings and torture at the hands of ISIS. 

In 2014, ISIS captured a large number of members of Iraq’s Yazidi minority in Sinjar. Many of the women were subjected to slavery in Nineveh province in northern Iraq.

By August of that year, hundreds of thousands of Yazidis had fled Sinjar into the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) where they currently reside in temporary refugee establishments, the largest of which is run by Turkey’s state emergency response organization AFAD. 

"An estimated 130,000 Yazidis fled for their lives and sought refuge in the Kurdistan region,” said Barzani.  

The United Nations reported in January that 50,000 Yazidis, mostly children, who fled Sinjar are still unaccounted for. 

Hundreds of Yazidi girls and women were also reported to have been kidnapped by ISIS as slaves.

Earlier in April, ISIS released more than two hundred Yazidis in Iraq’s Kirkuk province. Many were severely injured and have been hospitalised for treatment. 

TRTWorld and agencies