The Islamic State’s Deadly Legacy, Mass Graves In Iraq

The Islamic State’s Deadly Legacy, Mass Graves In Iraq

The Islamic State has left behind a trail of death in Iraq. Well known are the corporal punishments it gives people who disobey its rules in conquered cities like Mosul. It has also carried out mass killings of members of the security forces such as at Camp Speicher after it occupied Tikrit in June. The extent of these murders is not known as it controls plenty of territory that is off limit to the government, journalists and human rights groups. One thing that has emerged is the discovery of a number of mass graves throughout northern and central Iraq, many coming after IS was pushed out of an area. They leave behind just a hint at how many lives the insurgents have taken.

The US Journalist Joel Wing has been following the Iraqi media outlets and websites that mentioned information about the crimes committed by the ISIS. He noted that “Since June 2014, 23 mass graves caused by insurgent offensive have been found in Iraq. The first was in Humaidiyat near Mosul in Nineveh where 600 bodies of inmates from Badush prison were discovered on June 10. Militants took over the facility after the fall of Mosul and told the prisoners they were now free. Instead they were put into trucks, taken out into the desert and summarily shot.” He added “That type of mass killing would be repeated throughout Nineveh and other provinces in the following days, weeks, and months. In the fall, government forces began going on the offensive and reclaiming territory lost in the summer. After each area was cleared mass graves were soon found. At the end of August, Amerli in Salah-al-Din province was freed. In the aftermath 24 bodies of people executed by IS were uncovered. An operation was begun at the start of September to clear Suleiman Bek, Salah-al-Din, which revealed 30 bodies. Jurf al-Sakhr district in Babel province was cleared at the end of 2014 leading to 20 executed people being found. In December militias and the peshmerga pushed IS out of Sa’diya and Jalawla districts in northeast Diyala. That led to seven graves being discovered with 307 people in them including 17 peshmerga.” On December 24, three graves were uncovered with 250 bodies in them alone. The Islamic State recovered 73 Izidis were found in three parts of Sinjar and Zammar areas. In total, 1,680 civilians, members of the Iraqi Security Forces and Kurdish peshmerga forces have been recovered across Anbar, Babel, Diyala, Kirkuk, Nineveh and Salah-al-Din, Joel said.

The Islamic State targeted all groups in Iraq. That included all ethnic groups from Arabs to Kurds, and all religious groups from Shiites to Sunnis to Christians to Izidis to Shabaks. In certain situations it tried to destroy entire communities. Worse yet, more examples of this devastation will be found in the future as IS losses more territory. This reign of death has devastated Iraqi society and created more divisions than probably in any other time in recent history. Instead of bringing all of these victimized groups together it has atomized the country. Dealing with this legacy will be the real test for Iraq after the insurgency has been turned back. Can all these groups find common cause having been victimized by IS or will they continue down their own paths, which will sometimes include the thirst for revenge and more killings?

Mass Graves Discovered In Iraq 2014-2015

Date Location Deaths

6/10/2014 Humaidiyat, Nineveh 600 Badush prisoners

4/23/2014 Iskandiriya, Babel 20

9/5/2014 Amerli, Salah-al-Din 24

9/10/2014 Barzak, Nineveh 35

9/11/2014 Suleiman Bek, Salah-al-Din 30

10/6/2014 Mosul, Nineveh 6

11/22/2014 Badush, Nineveh 50 ISF

12/3/2014 Akbai, Diyala 5

12/20/2014 Hardan, Nineveh 70

12/22/2014 Amiriyat al-Fallujah, Anbar 20

Jurf al-Sakhr, Babil 20

12/24/2014 Jalawla & Sa’diya, Diyala 250 in 3 graves

12/26/2014 Hawija, Kirkuk 40 Shabaks

1/6/2015 Mosul, Nineveh 21 Christians

1/8/2015 Outside Mosul, Nineveh 320 in 5 graves

1/14/2015 Koubashi, Diyala 16

1/16/2015 Sa’diya, Diyala 25

1/21/2105 Sa’diya, Diyala 26, 11 Peshmerga in 2 graves

2/2/2015 Sinjar, Nineveh 30 Izidis

2/4/2015 Jalawla, Diyala 6 Peshmerga

Sinjar, Nineveh 27 Izidis

2/5/2015 Zammar, Nineveh 23

2/6/2015 Zammar, Nineveh 16 Izidis

TOTALS 23 1,680

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