ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A mass grave unearthed on Tuesday in Iraq’s Samawa city is believed to contain the remains of Kurdish civilians buried alive during the former Iraqi Ba’ath regime’s Anfal campaign.
Traditional Kurdish clothes were found in the grave along with the remains of the bodies, leading investigators to believe the victims were from the Garmiyan area – located south of the Kurdistan Region’s Sulaimani province – who were killed during the former Iraqi dictatorship’s genocidal campaign against the Kurdish population in Iraq.
Farhad Rashid, a sole survivor of the Anfal campaign in his family, had visited the site on Tuesday. He told Kurdistan 24 the unearthing of the mass grave began in the morning.
“According to their clothes, the deceased appear to be Kurds from the Garmiyan district,” Rashid told Kurdistan 24.
“The remains of 80 bodies were discovered, and after initial examination, the majority of them appear to be women and children.”
In May, a delegation from the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) visited the southern Iraqi province of Muthanna after Iraqi authorities in the area found several mass graves a month prior, which they believed contained the remains of Kurds killed during the Anfal campaign.
The mass grave site was found 200 kilometers west of the Samawa city center, located in southern Iraq.
In the 1980s onward, the Iraqi regime under Saddam Hussein undertook a campaign of genocide against the Kurds in the north. Led by the infamous Ali Hassan al-Majid, also known as “Chemical Ali,” the operation resulted in the deaths of up to 182,000 ethnic Kurds.
A large number of people, including women and children, were forcefully displaced and transferred to camps in southern Iraq, where the government eventually killed them and consigned them to mass graves, burying others alive in the desert.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Additional reporting by Harem Jaff)