Iraqi Yazidis Rebury Victims of Daesh


Despite Iraq’s victory over Daesh declared by then-Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in December 2017, the terrorist group’s brutality and barbarism continue to leave scars in the memory of the Iraqi people.

With the attendance of Iraqi government officials, political figures from the Kurdistan region, and representatives of international organizations, the Iraqi Yazidi community in December 2021 commemorated the remains of 41 victims exhumed from a mass grave discovered in the village of Kocho, Sinjar district, Nineveh governorate. 

“Today, the remains of 41 victims are being [re]buried in the village of Kocho,” said the emir of the Iraqi Yazidi ethnoreligious group, Jamhur Ali Bek. He noted that 20 out of 90 mass graves in the district of Sinjar, where Daesh buried Yazidi victims, were unearthed.

Nayef Jassem, a community leader in Kocho, said the exhumation was overseen by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Samples of DNA from the victims’ relatives were sent to the forensic medicine department in Baghdad to identify the remains, he said.

“The process of unearthing mass graves in Sinjar is not easy; rather, it takes a lot of time and requires financial allocations,” said Hussein Qassam, representative of the Yazidi Kurds in the Kurdistan Regional Government. “Teams from Kurdistan’s Ministry of Martyrs Affairs, in conjunction with the Iraqi federal government, are carrying out the process of unearthing graves and exhuming the victims’ remains with the assistance of international organizations, including UNAMI.”

Daesh targeted the Yazidi minority in Mosul, committing genocide against thousands of men and children and taking thousands of women as sex slaves. 

Search teams are still unearthing mass graves. In Nineveh governorate, where Kocho, Sinjar and Mosul are located, 7,200 people, including about 3,000 Yazidis, are missing, according to the Iraqi authorities.


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