Video - ISIS’ Horror Stories Leak from ‘Khasfa’ Mass Grave.(AS).
Mosul- The horror stories about ISIS’ mass killings at a cavernous hole in the desert near Mosul became legendary over the years.
Soon after the group took control of the Iraqi city more than 2½ years ago, the 100-foot-wide sinkhole five miles southwest of the airport became a site for summary executions. Some victims were made to line up at the edge of the hole and were shot before being kicked inside, while others were tossed in alive, residents said. Sometimes bodies were just trucked in for dumping.
Residents of Mosul whispered about the deaths at the sinkhole, or “khasfa,” as it is called. But with communications limited and locals too fearful to speak out publicly, it was only after Iraqi forces retook the area last month as they closed in on the city’s western side that the scale of the killings at the site began to emerge. Based on anecdotal evidence, Iraqi officials say thousands may have perished there in recent years.
It may be years more, though, before the mass grave gives up its secrets.
No one knows the depth of the hole under the water at the bottom. The militants have filled it and booby-trapped it with explosives, making excavation particularly complex.
The khasfa, though, could be ISIS’s biggest mass grave.
“It’s swallowed the lives of thousands,” said Muthanna Ahmed. He said he worked near the site for five months and witnessed summary executions. “It was terrifying, very deep and dark.”
Ahmed said victims’ shoes and dried blood lined its rim, while some decaying bodies that got caught on the sinkhole’s rugged edge were still visible. A -gruesome video posted on ¬YouTube in January 2015 shows a similar scene.
The sinkhole was near an ISIS oil refinery, and the militants regularly rounded up workers and Mosul residents who were buying fuel to watch the execution-style killings. Victims included former police and army officers, as well as those accused of spying or working with the Iraqi government, witnesses said.
Hussam al-Abar, a provincial council member, said 3,000 to 5,000 corpses might languish in its depths, though he bases that estimate on lists of missing people that he concedes could have been killed and buried somewhere else.
“Given the capacity of the central government and local government, I think it’s impossible to take out the bodies,” he said. “We’d need international assistance. It would be impossible for Iraqis alone.”
Jassim Omar, 33, said he witnessed about 10 executions there. The first was about a month after the city fell to the militants. About 25 prisoners from Badush prison in Mosul were brought to the sinkhole and killed, he said.
“If you want to scare someone from Mosul, just mention the khasfa,” he said.
The militants killed hundreds of the prison’s inmates when they took over the city, according to human rights groups. Most of the victims were Shi’ites, Yazidis and Christians, all of whom the militants consider to be apostates, while many Sunni inmates were allowed to go free. Read the full story here.