Shingal mass grave flattened to car park awaits Baghdad

The mass grave documented by The Ezidi Organization for documentation in August 2019, photos shared with KirkukNow, was flattened by Iraqi intelligence on June 29th, 2021 to be used as a car park.

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

The people of Shingal voluntarily made a fence for the mass grave flattened by Iraqi intelligence to be used as a car park in June, and waiting for action by relevant authorities from Baghdad.

On June 29th, a unit of Iraqi intelligence based in Shingal, 120 km west of Mosul, has leveled the plot of land next to its headquarter in order to use it as a car park which has sparked wide protests among the ezidi community since the site was a mass grave of Ezidis documented by a civil society organization for documentation of the atrocities against the Ezidi community.

The site is located between Shingal police and Iraqi intelligence office in the district of Shingal, home to the Ezidi ethno-religious minority in Mosul center of Ninewa province.

Natiq Alo Hamed, spokesperson of Shingal police said following the event, Shingal police sent full data with photos of the site to the directorate for protection of mass graves in Baghdad and await their filed visit in order to determine its destiny.

"They have sent no one and we have fulfilled our duty," Ahmed said. "The remnants are still there and the site is fenced by the locals to save it."

Few weeks following the event, the civil administration and organizations of Shingal in Mosul stop the process of moving remnants of Ezidis in a mass grave flattened by Iraqi intelligence to be held in plastic bags into morgue.

Shingal, August 29th 2019- The site of the mass grave found and documented by an Ezidi NGO.

Fahad Hamid, appointed as mayor by Shingal autonomous administration, close to Kurdistan Workers Party PKK, said the issue is still pending. "The car park of Iraqi intelligence is only two meters away from the unearthed mass grave."

"The case of the mass grave is pending. We along with NGOs and religious figures pushed hard not to turn the site into car park. We call on relevant authorities to visit the site and sort it out."

The case of the mass grave is pending

The Ezidi Organization for documentation of Shingal has registered the site as a mass grave on August 29, 2019. The NGO said in a statement then it has found a mass grave for up to ten people in cooperation with Shingal police.

Shingal, located 120 west of Mosul, on the border of Iraq-Syria, is home to the Ezidi community targeted by Islamic State (IS) group in August 2014 and one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. 

Seized in August 2014 by ISIS militants whom accused the Ezidis of being “heretics,” Shingal has been the scene of tragedy: a genocidal campaign of killings, rape, abductions and enslavement, amounted to genocide.

Sirwan Jalal, director of mass graves in Kurdistan Regional Government's KRG ministry of martyrs and Anfal, said two months ago they contacted directorate of mass graves in Baghdad under martyrs' foundation and sent them photos of the flattened mass grave yet so far no feedback.

"Whenever the relations are fine between Baghdad and KRG, they quickly respond, otherwise they don't. Currently, the relations are not good," Jalal said.

"Besides, this area is not under our control so we cannot pay a field visit to the mass grave."

The Iraqi intelligence has not declared its stand clearly. Locals met them said the intelligence office told them they were not informed the site is a documented mass grave.

Falah Hassan, member of the investigative and data collection committee of national team for exhuming mass graves under the KRG said Baghdad and KRg teams left Shingal few months ago "so we can't visit the mass grave without Baghdad's consent."

"it's true we are partners with Bagdhad yet for such issues we need their approval."

On March 15, 2019, the first mass grave for the Eizidi victims was unearthed in the village of Kojo where 364 bodies were collected from 17 mass graves, official records of Iraqi national team for mass graves said.

Shingal is home to 82 mass graves and tens of individual graves for Ezidis slaughtered at the hands of the extremist militants of IS.

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