As the US backed coalition advances in its effort to push ISIS out of the city of Mosul in Iraq, gruesome findings come to light. The Iraqi forces have succeeded in liberating small towns and villages around Mosul. With the region now free of ISIS, coalition forces are now finding brutal truths about what happened in these small towns and villages. While ISIS dominated the region, it enforced a climate of fear and violence. The Iraqi military found a mass grave inside the courtyard of a school in a town located south of Mosul.
Iraqi Military Find Mass Grave in Hammam al-Alil
Iraq’s military issued a statement this Monday regarding the finding of a mass grave in a town near Mosul. The mass grave contained the remains of about 100 civilians that had been beheaded. Iraqi forces found the mass grave in the School of Agriculture of Hammam al-Alil. According to Iraq’s Joint Military Command, the town of Hammam al-Alil had been recaptured from ISIS after heavy fighting on Monday. The statement from the Iraqi military condemned the actions of ISIS.
“Gangs of ISIS militants continue to commit crimes against our people,”
said the statement from the Iraqi military.
Special teams are going to go to Hammam al-Alil and investigate the mass grave. The statement from the Iraqi military said that ISIS has been using beheadings and mass graves to instill fear. Mass graves have become a hallmark of ISIS. The Sunni terror group is responsible for a large number of beheadings.
The Push to Liberate Mosul
The town of Hammam al-Alil came under attack on Saturday. The forces were made up of Iraqi army troops as well as Iraqi federal police forces. The town of Hammam al-Alil is 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) away from Mosul to the south. It is the last major settlement on the river Tigris before Mosul.
A day before Saturday, the UN Refugee Agency had received reports that the children of the town were in danger. ISIS was asking the residents of Hammam al-Alil to hand over boys to the militant group. They were asking for boys as young as 9 to join the fight to keep Mosul in the hands of ISIS.
Since October 17, the offensive to retake Mosul has been going strong. The city of Mosul on the river Tigris is the most important ISIS stronghold in Iraq. It is the second most important city to ISIS, after Raqqa in Syria. Mosul has been under the control of the Sunni militant group for two years. The coalition of Iraqi forces fighting to liberate the area has significant numbers.
Mosul is the second most populous city in Iraq, after the capital city of Baghdad. It has 1.2 million residents. Aid agencies have expressed their concerns that the effort to liberate Mosul could mean another refugee crisis. The fighting in the streets of the city could cause the residents to flee Mosul so they could get out of the way of the conflict. This could trigger another refugee crisis that the region is not ready to handle.
According to the International Organization for Migration, the military operations have displaced 34,038 people.
Image source: here.