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The stories beneath the soil
The tragedy of Kurdish genocide in the deserts of Iraq

The stories beneath the soil
The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.


Peregraf- Haval Zangana

The hair of the victims are still the same, women’s bags, the child in the mother’s arms, the plastic shoes, even the elders with traditional Kurdish belts with tightened hands and eyes are all buried in mass graves.

The scene is too tragic for a few to be able to hold their tears. Jabar Omar is one of those who have been crying for days. His grief is for relatives who have been killed and buried in mass graves decades ago. 

"I have been crying ever since the moment I saw dozens of Omar Khawar [The symbol of Kurdish Genocide in Halabja] in the mass graves. The child in the mother’s arms had been shot, the child with a milk bottle in the mouth and many other tragic scenes can be seen in the mass graves," Jabar told Peregraf.

Four mass graves with dozens of Kurds bodies killed by the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces were found in the desert of al-Muthanna Province in southern Iraq.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

Early exhumation of one of the mass graves about 80 kilometers southwest of al-Samawah city has found bodies of 80 people. The other two mass graves are to be exhumed in August.

Jabar, who has survived the Anfal campaign by the General Amnesty Law, has had many of his relatives killed during the campaign and is now a member to oversee the unearthing process.

He calls on international organizations to visit the mass graves and see with their own eyes how "Saddam Hussein had said they would kill insurgents, but the graves consist mostly of women and children."

Fouad Osman, spokesperson of the KRG’s Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, told Peregraf the work is ongoing at the first mass grave, which contains 80 women and children and there are still two other mass graves in the area.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

The uncovering of Anfal’s mass graves is directed by an Iraqi law. It involves a joint team of Iraqi Martyrs Foundation, the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government and a judge in coordination of The ICMP (International Commission on Missing Persons).

Out of the estimated 182,000 victims of Anfal, only 1,500 bodies have been recovered which were buried in the Anfal’s special monument.

Fouad Osman elaborates that the bodies from recent Samawah’s mass grave is from Garmyan, "After they have been delivered for forensic pathology and samples have been taken to testify, all of them will be taken back to Kurdistan."

The Department of the Affairs and Protection of Mass Graves in the Iraqi Martyrs Foundation halted the exhuming process at the site following Teimour Abdulla’s requests from Iraqi officials.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

Teimour is the lone survivor of a mass grave in the city of Samawah. When he survived, an Arab family adopted him, and after the Kurdistan’s uprising in 1991, he came back to Kurdistan. All his stories have been published in a book in 2013.

The Sole Survivors of Anfal are worried that they will die and their relatives will remain forever unknown as DNA tests have not been done for them for a comparison against the ones of the Anfal remains.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs says Teimour is asking the Iraqi government to apologize to Kurds for the event, and to compensate Anfal survivors and their families, in addition to bringing to justice those who participated in the killings, especially the Jashes.

Jash is a Kurdish word used to describe Kurds who conspired with Saddam's Baath regime against their own people.

The Anfal Survivors also have some demands to the Iraqi President Barham Salih.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

Soud Sangawi, the son of Anfal victim from Garmyan asks Salih to work on the issue to make Iraq a member of the International Criminal Court and make Anfal gain the recognition of a genocide.

He says to the Iraqi President: "What we see now is a real evidence to have Anfal recognized as genocide. Therefore, if you considered Anfal families as your own, today also accept the case, this duty can only be done by you."

Hassan Jihad, spokesman for President Barham Salih, told Peregraf that the President would do his best in this regard, "I have no idea why Iraq is not yet a member of the international court, and this could have been achieved by an agreement between both the Parliament and the Government through the recommendations of related institutions."

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

The cruelest part of the Anfal campaign is the third part in which every single village had been destroyed in Gramyan, most of the people were forcibly taken to the camps in southern Iraqi provinces.

The Anfal Campaign was conducted in 1988 and continued for seven months. Throughout the whole campaign, 182000 Kurds were killed and thousands of Kurdish villages had been destroyed.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

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The stories beneath the soil

2019-07-28 11:39:33


Peregraf- Haval Zangana

The hair of the victims are still the same, women’s bags, the child in the mother’s arms, the plastic shoes, even the elders with traditional Kurdish belts with tightened hands and eyes are all buried in mass graves.

The scene is too tragic for a few to be able to hold their tears. Jabar Omar is one of those who have been crying for days. His grief is for relatives who have been killed and buried in mass graves decades ago. 

"I have been crying ever since the moment I saw dozens of Omar Khawar [The symbol of Kurdish Genocide in Halabja] in the mass graves. The child in the mother’s arms had been shot, the child with a milk bottle in the mouth and many other tragic scenes can be seen in the mass graves," Jabar told Peregraf.

Four mass graves with dozens of Kurds bodies killed by the former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein’s forces were found in the desert of al-Muthanna Province in southern Iraq.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

Early exhumation of one of the mass graves about 80 kilometers southwest of al-Samawah city has found bodies of 80 people. The other two mass graves are to be exhumed in August.

Jabar, who has survived the Anfal campaign by the General Amnesty Law, has had many of his relatives killed during the campaign and is now a member to oversee the unearthing process.

He calls on international organizations to visit the mass graves and see with their own eyes how "Saddam Hussein had said they would kill insurgents, but the graves consist mostly of women and children."

Fouad Osman, spokesperson of the KRG’s Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs, told Peregraf the work is ongoing at the first mass grave, which contains 80 women and children and there are still two other mass graves in the area.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

The uncovering of Anfal’s mass graves is directed by an Iraqi law. It involves a joint team of Iraqi Martyrs Foundation, the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs of the Kurdistan Regional Government and a judge in coordination of The ICMP (International Commission on Missing Persons).

Out of the estimated 182,000 victims of Anfal, only 1,500 bodies have been recovered which were buried in the Anfal’s special monument.

Fouad Osman elaborates that the bodies from recent Samawah’s mass grave is from Garmyan, "After they have been delivered for forensic pathology and samples have been taken to testify, all of them will be taken back to Kurdistan."

The Department of the Affairs and Protection of Mass Graves in the Iraqi Martyrs Foundation halted the exhuming process at the site following Teimour Abdulla’s requests from Iraqi officials.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

Teimour is the lone survivor of a mass grave in the city of Samawah. When he survived, an Arab family adopted him, and after the Kurdistan’s uprising in 1991, he came back to Kurdistan. All his stories have been published in a book in 2013.

The Sole Survivors of Anfal are worried that they will die and their relatives will remain forever unknown as DNA tests have not been done for them for a comparison against the ones of the Anfal remains.

The spokesperson of the Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs says Teimour is asking the Iraqi government to apologize to Kurds for the event, and to compensate Anfal survivors and their families, in addition to bringing to justice those who participated in the killings, especially the Jashes.

Jash is a Kurdish word used to describe Kurds who conspired with Saddam's Baath regime against their own people.

The Anfal Survivors also have some demands to the Iraqi President Barham Salih.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

Soud Sangawi, the son of Anfal victim from Garmyan asks Salih to work on the issue to make Iraq a member of the International Criminal Court and make Anfal gain the recognition of a genocide.

He says to the Iraqi President: "What we see now is a real evidence to have Anfal recognized as genocide. Therefore, if you considered Anfal families as your own, today also accept the case, this duty can only be done by you."

Hassan Jihad, spokesman for President Barham Salih, told Peregraf that the President would do his best in this regard, "I have no idea why Iraq is not yet a member of the international court, and this could have been achieved by an agreement between both the Parliament and the Government through the recommendations of related institutions."

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.

The cruelest part of the Anfal campaign is the third part in which every single village had been destroyed in Gramyan, most of the people were forcibly taken to the camps in southern Iraqi provinces.

The Anfal Campaign was conducted in 1988 and continued for seven months. Throughout the whole campaign, 182000 Kurds were killed and thousands of Kurdish villages had been destroyed.

The mass grave of Kurdish women and children has been exhumed on July 27, 2019. Photo: Fouad Osman has sent to Peregraf.