Remains of 16 Ezidis identified, to be handed over to relatives for reburial

104 Ezidi citizens buried in Kojo village of Shingal district of Ninewa province on February 6, 2021. Ibrahim Yazidi

By Ammar Aziz in Ninewa

Baghdad's forensic medical examiner has completed the identification of the bodies of 16 more Ezidis (Yazidis) and handed them over to their relatives, eight years after they were slain by the extremist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

The bodies were named in a list by a forensic medicine, a copy of which is with KirkukNow, most of them are from Shingal (Sinjar) district, home to the Ezidi community, in northwestern Mosul. However, it was not stated the bodies were uncovered from which mass grave or area.

Last December, 41 identified Ezidi remains were returned from Baghdad Forensic Medicine to Ninewa where it was received by their families and relatives in a public ceremony and properly laid to rest. The remains, 15 of them women and children, were flown from Baghdad to the village of Kocho in Shingal.

The exhumation of mass graves in Kocho village was first launched Mid-March 2019, and so far, the remains of nearly 500 victims have been exhumed in two stages from 20 mass graves. In Kocho, a 300-grave cemetery was prepared for the remains in 2019.

On February 6th, the identified remains of 104 Ezidis were reburied in Kocho and over 350 remains are still to be identified in Baghdad.

ISIS staged an assault on 3 August 2014 and committed mass killings throughout the district, mainly in the village of Kocho mid of August. According to figures by the Ezidi Affairs of KRG Ministry of Awqaf (Endowment), 1,293 Ezidis were killed by ISIL militants in August 2014 and still almost 3,000 are missing.

Up today, 80 mass graves have been discovered in Shingal along with dozens of single graves, all of which dating back to the time when ISIS attacked and took control of the district.

The Yazidi religious community, along with Christians, Kakais and Turkmens, were severerly targeted IS and faced mass killings after the capture of Shingal (120 km west of Mosul) on August 3, 2014.

Out of 550,000 Ezidis, 360,000 were displaced, 160,000 back to Shingal, and 100,000 migrated abroad while the rest are still living under tents in camps for the Internally Displaced Person IDP.

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

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