A new U.N. report cites that the discovery of 13 bodies in a mass grave in northern Iraq may be the work of ISIS which occupies much of the Saladin province, including the capital city of Tikrit. Shiite armed forces and Iraqi security are on the offensive there to take back the territory, but it’s a brutal fight against a group that shows no limit to the violent acts it’s willing to commit, including beheading their captives. To add fuel to the fire which currently engulfs almost all of northern Iraq, the rebel army has brutally enforced their version of Sharia in areas they now occupy and have made it almost impossible for the indigenous population to leave.
The report is a collaboration of eye-witness accounts from about 100 people who were victims of the ISIS attacks, and includes descriptions of the torture of men, and the rape and enslavement of females as young as 6. The Yazidi’s, an ethnic minority group living primarily in the northwest providence of Nineveh, have been a particular target of the rebel army because they do not subscribe to their Islamic ideology. The extremists have also persecuted Christians in Mosul, forcing them to renounce their religion or pay-off their torturers in the face of death.
ISIS isn’t the only group that has been accused of committing crimes against humanity. Iraqi and Shiite forces are both detailed in the report as “killing, torturing and abducting” Sunni’s (Iraq’s largest minority), breaking into their homes and forcing them out at gun-point, and setting a prison full of Sunni’s on fire in Diyala.[AP]