Monday, September 05, 2016

WAR ON ISIS - Mass Graves Discovered

"Mass graves of ISIS victims discovered across Iraq and Syria" PBS NewsHour 8/30/2016

ISIS, the disciples of Satin.


SUMMARY:  Documenting atrocities committed by the Islamic State can seem impossible.  A new report from the Associated Press, however, catalogs 72 mass graves around Syria and Iraq -- including one site that held 1,700 bodies.  Gwen Ifill speaks with the AP's Lori Hinnant about the locations of these burial sites, what happened to the victims entombed within them and whether anyone is being held responsible.

GWEN IFILL (NewsHour):  Cataloging the atrocities committed by the so-called Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq is a difficult, sometimes impossible task.

A new report from the Associated Press attempts to document the mass graves holding some of the group's victims.  The AP found 72 mass grave sites around Syria and Iraq.  One of the sites held as many as 1,700 bodies.

For more, we are joined by Associated Press reporter Lori Hinnant, one of the authors of the investigation.

Lori, thank you for joining us.

Seventy-two mass grave sites, how were you and your colleagues able to find them and document them?

LORI HINNANT, Associated Press:  Well, we used a variety of sources.

We first went to Iraqi Kurdistan, where there are at least 35 mass graves on Sinjar Mountain alone, most of them holding the bodies of minority Yazidi.

We also talked to the Kurdish regional government, who told us of at least two others, one outside Mosul at a prison, where 600 to 800 inmates were killed, and another in a deep natural geological pit.

Then we asked the government in Baghdad what they knew to try and triangulate some of the other information.  We also went into archives of news reports when sites were discovered.  For Syria, we can't go in.  So, we had to speak to activists, locals, some fighters who are fighting against Islamic State, and people who are trying to document human rights abuses.

GWEN IFILL:  Do mass graves also — always mean mass killings?  That is to say, did all of the people — or the bodies that you found in these graves all come from single episodes, single assaults?

LORI HINNANT:  Not necessarily, although, largely, they did.  And even for some of them, it's not clear who is even in them.  The graves have not been excavated and they are untouched.

Others are in territory that no one has seen.  The pit outside Mosul and another one in Syria, for example, we know from Islamic State's own propaganda that they have buried hundreds, if not more, bodies in them.  And they just tossed them in really without a thought.  We have no idea why the people were killed exactly or when.

So, in those cases, yes, the victims are killed at different times.  In Sinjar, they were all killed at the same time.

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