A mass grave dating back to 2016 has been discovered in Iraq containing the remains of 643 civilians believed to be victims of the Saqlawiyah massacre, about 5 kilometers north of Fallujah, in Anbar Governorate.
An official source said that all of the victims belong to one tribe called al-Muhamdah. They had disappeared since 2016 and no one knew anything about them since.
Iraqi forces and the Iranian-backed Shia Popular Mobilization Units militias (PMU - known as Hashd al-Shaabi in Arabic), had liberated Fallujah and its suburbs in the same year.
Skulls, human bones, civilian clothing remains, including those belonging to children, traces of holes and handcuffs suggest that a massacre occurred in that place, according to sources from the Forensic Medicine Department in Ramadi.
The mass grave was discovered near the connecting road between Fallujah and Baghdad, specifically near the road leading to southwestern Fallujah.
Government officials said that the area was under the control of the PMU militias and ISIS had not reached it, which raises questions about an ethnic cleansing crime that may have taken place in Fallujah by the PMU militias.
The Human Rights department of the Association of Muslim Scholars in Iraq confirmed that among the most prominent factions of those involved in such crimes are the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigades, Badr, Asaib Ahl al-Haqq and others who previously committed a series of similar crimes against the people of the provinces during the years 2014 and 2017.
The discovery is similar to an incident that occurred a few months ago, in which another mass grave was found in the north of Babel governorate. It was estimated that more than 200 bodies were found. The government never revealed the circumstances and details of the crime.