Mosul offensive: An Islamic State "death camp"

A grave with 100 beheaded corpses is located within an agricultural school 30 km south of the Caliphate stronghold. The soldiers made the discovery attracted by the strong smell. Also a one year old baby executed during in retreat.


Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Iraqi forensic experts have started the investigation after the discovery of a mass grave near Mosul, a stronghold of the Islamic State in the north of the country, an objective of the offensive launched on October 17 by the army and by Kurdish Peshmerga.

The discovery was made by troops advancing towards the city. Military sources said that the mass grave is located in the gardens of an agricultural school in the town of Hamam al-Alil. Inside there would be a hundred decapitated bodies, reduced to skeletons making it difficult to identify the victims.

In the past militias Daesh [Arabic acronym for the Islamic State, IS] have been guilty of heinous crimes, including mass murder and burial of bodies in mass graves.

The soldiers identified the pit to Hamam al-Alil attracted by the strong smell that was noted during the stages of progress toward the town, which lies about 30 km south of Mosul. Witnesses said that the pit is located "in the uncultivated area" and "looks like a dump."

According to experts, the area is littered with anti-personnel mines placed in the ground by jihadists before fleeing.  This is why the recovery of the bodies and the analysis of the area proceeds with extreme care and caution.

According to reports from Abdul Rahman al-Wagga, a member of the provincial council of Nineveh, the IS militiamen were using agricultural school as a "death camp"; hundreds of people died in the days leading up to the Iraqi army's entrance.

"Victims were tortured - adds the councilor - and led outside, agricultural area, where they killed by firing squad or had their throats slit". Tarik, an engineering student, says the technique used by militias to flush out the people who were hiding. "They stuck uniforms and passed themselves off as Iraqi soldiers. When civilians came out of hiding places to welcome them – he explains - they executed them. Even a child of one, they shot in the head ".

Since the beginning of the offensive for the recapture of Mosul, the UN has received several reports containing new allegations of atrocities committed by jihadists. The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights reported the killing, which occurred last month, of 50 former police officers in the town of Hamam al-Alil.

In addition, at least 1,500 families in the area were transferred by Daesh to Mosul, to be used as a human shields against possible air strikes or ground offensives.