Remains of seven members of family exhumed from Shingal mass grave

Ninewa, November 21st 2021- Daya (Mother) Shamé awaits exhumation of remains for the bodies of her sons and grandsons in Gir Ouzer sub-district of Shingal. Photo shared by Khidir Khero with KirukNow.

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

The Iraqi federal government has exhumed a mass grave for seven members of a family in the Ezidi region.

The mass grave is located only five kilometers away from the center of Gir Ouzer sub-district of Shingal (Sinjar), home to the vulnerable, war-torn Ezidi (Yazidi) community.

The national team has started the process of unearthing the remains on Sunday November 21st. The mass grave is home to seven bodies, all members of one family, all sons and grandsons of Mother Shamé, named mother of martyrs by the Ezidis since she has lost 32 members out of her 65-member family, a number of the m killed and others enslaved by the extremist militants of Islamic State in Iraq and Levant ISIL back in 2014.

Khidir Dero, brother of Daya Shamé, said the seven bodies were collected by the and sent to forensic medicine in Baghdad. Following all tests, the bodies to be returned for burial in Shingal.

“We have called on local and federal officials in the meetings tens of times to exhume mass graves for kids and grandkids of Daya Shamé as sson as possible since they have turned into the symbol of Shingal sacrifice,” Dero said.

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.

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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Ninewa, November 21st 2021- Exhumation of remnants for seven bodies all from one family in Gir Ouzer sub-district of Shingal. Photo shared by Khidir Khero with KirukNow.

Daya Shamé, 65, was told that ISIS asked her family members to convert to Islam once arrested yet they rejected. “We will die as Ezidis and will never convert,” her son Barjas told the militants.

The militants shoot her five sons and two grandsons in one site.

“Before August 2014, we had a good life together. We were content with what we had. All my offspring were around me,” Shamé talked to KirkukNow last December.

Shamé had three daughters and six sons. Counting their spouses and children, together they were 64 persons. She raised her children as a single mother, as her husband was killed in the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s.

Last week, the remains of about ten bodies were exhumed from a mass grave in Shingal which the Iraqi intelligence service leveled with land in July to be used as a car park.

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Ninewa, November 21st 2021- Remnants found in the mass grave for bodies of civilian Ezidis shot dead and buried by ISIL militants in 2014. Photo shared by Khidir Khero with KirukNow.

Jilan Barjas, granddaughter of Mother Shamé, commits suicide when and ISIL militants tried to marry her forcibly. Her sister Jihan, was 17 when she was captured. She was sent to al-Riqqa, a strong hold of ISIS in Syria. She is kept by IS militants as a sex slave.

In April 2015, eyewitnesses tell the family that Jihan as well commits suicide in order to avoid sexual harassment and rape attempts by the extremist militants.

August 20th 2014 was the last day for Jilan yet every year she is remembered for her courage and the Ezidi community recalls her tragic story which has become a touching story they narrate.

Kurdistan Regional Government KRG’s Office for Rescue of Abducted Ezidis' statement on August 2nd says out of 6,417 abducted Ezidis, up today 3,550 have been rescued from IS, 2005 of them were children, and 1,206 women.

According to KRG office figures, out of 550,000 Ezidis, 360,000 were displaced, 160,000 back to Shingal, and 100,000 migrated abroad.

Shingal, on the border of Iraq-Syria, is home to hundreds of thousands of the Ezidi community targeted by Islamic State in Iraq and Levant ISIL in August 2014 and one of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil. 

On March 15, 2019, the first mass grave for the Eizidi victims was unearthed in the village of Kojo where about 500 bodies were collected from 20 mass graves, official records of Iraqi national team for mass graves said. 104 bodies were reburied in Kojo last February.

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