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Iraq begins exhuming mass grave in Sinjar region

IS militants rampaged across Sinjar in 2014, killing and abducting thousands of Yazidis [Getty]

Date of publication: 16 March, 2019

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The Iraqi government has started exhuming a mass grave left behind by the Islamic State group in the northwestern Sinjar region.
The Iraqi government has started exhuming a mass grave left behind by the Islamic State group in the northwestern Sinjar region.

The exhumation, which is being carried out with UN support, began on Saturday in the village of Kocho.

IS militants rampaged across Sinjar in 2014, killing Yazidi men and abducting thousands of women and children.

Many followers of the minority faith are still missing, after women were forced into sexual slavery and boys were indoctrinated in jihadi ideology.

Over 70 mass graves have been discovered in Sinjar since it was liberated from IS in November 2015.

Nadia Murad, the Noble peace prize winner, who is originally from Kocho, is taking part in the exhumation.

IS captured large parts of northern Iraq and eastern Syria in 2014, during a lightning campaign that saw Iraqi troops flee south leaving civilians defenceless to the militants. 

IS kidnapped 7,000 Yazidi women and girls and held them as sex slaves during the campaign.

More than 3,000 Yazidi were murdered, mostly men and the elderly, in the days after IS took over areas around Sinjar, while children were forced into military conscription.

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