Iraqi forces, who are engaged in a major operation to liberate the city of Mosul, have found a mass grave containing the remains of suspected victims of Daesh executions in a village recently retaken from the Takfiri terrorist group.
A team of AFP journalists visited the site behind a small sand-covered hill outside the village of Tall adh Dhahab, situated about 10 kilometers south of Mosul, on Friday.
Iraqi Lieutenant Yahya Jumma said locals believe that some 40 people may be buried at the Daesh execution ground.
“The majority of them (the victims) were members of the security forces, army and police,” he said, adding, “They (terrorists) brought them by pickup trucks – there were around 40 people according to eyewitnesses who saw them.”
The visiting journalists reported meter-high mounds at the entrance to the shallow pit and an overpowering stench with bone fragments scattered around the area. They further said that scraps of clothing and several bullet casings could be seen at the site.
Iraqi forces have discovered a number of Daesh mass graves in the country’s liberated districts, among them the one found last week near the agricultural college of the town of Hammam al-Alil, south of Mosul.
Authorities are conducting an investigation at the site with Human Rights Watch estimating that the graveyard could contain some 300 bodies.
Iraqis set to cut terrorists’ supply route between Mosul and Raqqah
Separately on Friday, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Shaabi forces, said that they were set to cut the road to Syria that has used by Daesh as a supply route over the past two years.
“We are now in the process of cutting the main supply road between Mosul and Raqqah, which runs behind the [Tal Afar] airport. It was crucial for us to clear all this area to the west and cut the road so the Iraqi army can clear Mosul of IS (Daesh) without them being able to flee,” Commander Shiekh Abu Karra Abadi told the Middle East Eye news portal.
The volunteer forces wrested control of Tal Afar airport in western Mosul late on Wednesday.
Daesh elements had “retreated, some into Tal Afar city and … some … to Mosul,” Abadi said, adding that hundreds of the militants had put up resistance to defend the supply route to Syria.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of Iraq’s Badr Organization Hadi al-Ameri underlined that the Iraqi soldiers were in control of the area south-west of Mosul and would continue advancing until closing the Iraq-Syria border.
Since October 17, the Iraqi army, volunteer Shia and Sunni fighters as well as Kurdish Peshmerga forces have been conducting an offensive to recapture Mosul.
The city fell to Daesh in 2014, the year the terror outfit began its campaign of death and destruction in northern and western Iraq.
Since the beginning of the Mosul battle, the 140,000-strong PMU forces have liberated over 1,300 square kilometers of territory from the grip of terrorists, including more than 60 villages.