Iraq to identify remains from Daesh graves in Yazidi area

UN began the joint probe efforts last year, and 12 grave sites around Kojo were exhumed by last month. (File/AFP)
Updated 06 June 2019

Iraq to identify remains from Daesh graves in Yazidi area

  • Daesh considered the Yazidis as “apostates” and committed numerous crimes against them
  • For every survivor there are 3-5 people missing

BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities will begin identifying the remains of 141 people exhumed from mass graves in the Yazidi region of Sinjar, the head of Baghdad’s forensic office said Thursday.
“The remains will first be examined, and then DNA samples will be taken to compare with samples gathered from families,” Zaid Al-Yousef told AFP.
The efforts are part of an investigation by the Iraqi government and a special United Nations team to collect evidence of crimes committed by the Daesh group.
Daesh swept across swathes of Iraq in 2014, including the Sinjar region where the Yazidi minority was long based.
The Kurdish-speaking Yazidis follow an ancient religion, but Daesh considered them “apostates.”
The extremists forced thousands of Yazidi women and girls to be “sex slaves,” recruited boys to fight, and executed Yazidi men en masse in what the UN has said could amount to genocide.
The UN began its joint probe last year, exhuming the first mass graves of Daesh victims around the town of Kojo in Sinjar in March.
It said last month that 12 of 16 identified grave sites around Kojo had been exhumed.
But Yousef said the next phase of identifying the victims would be a fraught process.
“We took around 1,280 samples from families in Sinjar, but the problem is that for a lot of them, there’s just a single survivor and the rest are all missing,” he said.
“If we compare it with other terrorist attacks, we would find three, four, or five survivors for every missing person. But here, we have three, four, or five missing people for a single survivor,” Yousef added.
He said the identification process would also be impacted by the rate of intermarriage among Yazidis, who very rarely wed outside the community.
That insularity is part of what made Daesh’s 2014 sweep so scarring, with many Yazidi women who were abducted and raped by Daesh initially excommunicated.
Yazidi spiritual leader Baba Sheikh issued a decision the following year welcoming those women back home, but the fate of children born of those rapes remains unresolved and controversial.
Many Yazidi women who were kidnapped by Daesh have escaped in recent years, and dozens more fled to safety this year as Daesh’s “caliphate” crumbled in Syria, but several thousand remain missing.


Emirates opens bookings for a number of Arab destinations as of July

Updated 9 min 57 sec ago

Emirates opens bookings for a number of Arab destinations as of July

  • Coronavirus travel regulations remain and a number of countries have not yet revealed when they would reopen
  • The airline implemented precautionary measures from May 21

DUBAI: Emirates has opened online bookings for 12 Arab countries for flights starting on July 1.
The destinations include Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Oman, Iraq, Egypt, Algeria and Tunisia, but bookings are still subject to change, local media said.
“Currently some of our flights are available for booking starting  July 1; however, the situation still  remains dynamic and these flight services could be subject to change, We aim to provide our customers with as much notice as possible should there be any changes,” an Emirates spokesperson told weekly magazine Arabian Business.
However, coronavirus travel regulations remain and a number of countries have not yet revealed when they would reopen.
The airline implemented precautionary measures from May 21 as regular scheduled flights to some destinations resumed.
These measures introduced include complimentary hygiene kits for all passengers, staggered boarding – carried out on a row-by-row basis – with all flights over one-and-a-half hours having a cabin service assistant, who will ensure the toilets are cleaned every 45 minutes.
Other measures include a series of precautions for transit passengers in Dubai, ensuring strict social distancing and requiring passengers and crew to wear masks and gloves at all times.