Identifying ISIS’s victims

Sheren Khalel and Matthew Vickery report: Last time Tadrian Abdullah was at Merkaz al Medina kebab restaurant in his hometown of Khanaqin, he was promptly asked to leave. The pungent lingering smell of rotten human tissue and blood that still clung to his hair and skin despite hours of scrubbing was too revolting for the owner to stomach.

That day was a particularly bad dig, Abdullah recalls. The images of the partially decomposed bodies he dragged out of the ground, and the accompanying smell of rotting human flesh, continues to haunt him.

Abdullah works for Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government’s Ministry of Martyrs and Anfal Affairs. Five months ago Abdullah was a desk worker, filing paperwork and faxing documents at the ministry. However, with the sudden advance of the so-called Islamic State around Khanaqin, his job took a drastic turn.

Today he digs up the bodies of the recently executed, the victims of ISIS who have been dumped in mass graves across the region. The most recently discovered are in and around Tikrit, where ISIS recently was defeated. Some 1,700 mostly Shia soldiers captured at the former Camp Speicher military base in June 2014 are believed to have been slaughtered there. [Continue reading…]

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