Special teams that search for mass graves of Yezidi people massacred by the ISIS have so far found 31 mass graves, containing 1,646 people, including women and children, the mayor of Shingal told Rudaw.
The announcement comes as the Kurdish authorities stated that a new mass grave was found in the Hardan area of Shingal.
Shingal Mayor Mahma Khalil said that the teams will continue to search for more mass graves, which could total 50.
He added that the Yezidi mass graves found to this date are all located within the administrative areas of Shingal.
ISIS marched on Yezidi towns and villages shortly after it took control of large areas of Iraq, including Mosul in 2014. The extremist group has killed thousands of Yezidis, mostly men, and enslaved thousands more Yezidi girls and women.
An investigation into mass graves conducted by The Associated Press and announced in August 2016, concluded that between 5,200 and 15,000 people are buried in 72 mass graves in territory the militants formerly controlled.
According to official government reports, nearly 6,000 Yezidi men, women and children were abducted in the first days of ISIS’ attack on Shingal in August 2014.
The International Commision on Missing Persons (ICMP), an international organization dedicated to the issue of missing people around the world, has started to help assist the search operation in coordination with the Iraqi and Kurdish authorities.
The organizations says with the assistance from the supporting governments of the United States, Canada, and Germany, it has gained a mandate since 2012 from the local authorities to protect the mass graves that have been discovered in Shingal, and preserve the evidence in line with the international standards that could later be used in court proceedings against perpetrators.