Mass Graves and  the Importance of Detecting Them

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) is a militant group that emerged in 2013 and seized large parts of Iraq and Syria, declaring an Islamic state. ISIS has executed thousands of people from different ethnic and religious groups, especially the Shias and the Izadis, minority groups in Iraq and Syria. The United Nations has declared that ISIS committed genocide against the minorities and other crimes against humanity.

The UN reports that a large number of mass graves with more than ten thousand bodies  buried in them are in Iraq and Syria and also says that larger numbers should be expected as ISIS retreats. The mass graves are considered crime scenes that could contain evidence for future prosecutions in search of truth.

One of the challenges of detecting and also excavating mass graves is that they are usually hidden by ISIS, and some areas are still too dangerous to properly search. There are different methods of searching and scanning the ground in search of possible mass graves such as satellite imagery, aerial photography, ground-penetrating radar, magnetometry, electrical resistivity, and infrared thermography. These ways can help detect anomalies in the soil that may signify the presence of human remains.

These methods, however, are not necessarily accurate  and they need  high expertise that may not be easily obtained in some areas. Therefore, some have suggested alternative approaches, such as using drones, artificial intelligence, or machine learning to help in the detection of mass graves. These approaches aim to leverage new technologies and involve communities in the process of detecting, finding, and preserving mass graves.

Freemuslim advocates for human rights and peaceful coexistence worldwide. We acknowledge raising awareness about the ISIS genocide and atrocities as one of our undeniable missions and trying to help the recognition of the mass graves that have victims buried inside as a duty of ours. Freemuslim believes that sites that have the mass graves in them need to be marked with official signs by the countries in which they are located in order to honor the memory of the victims and to prevent further destruction. We also believe that identifying such places gives the families who have lost loved ones because of crimes committed by ISIS and ISIL some closure and comfort, knowing the location where their family members may rest.