Yazidi victims of Islamic State reburied after mass graves exhumed in Iraq

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More than 100 members of the Yazidi community killed by members of Islamic State have been reburied in a ceremony to mourn their loss.

They died at the hands of the Islamist group six years ago when it swept across northern Iraq, killing thousands.

On Saturday, soldiers could be seen carrying coffins as the dead were laid to rest at a mass funeral in the village of Kocho, in the Iraqi region of Sinjar.

Their bodies were exhumed from mass graves last year in an operation organised by the United Nations, before they were identified in Baghdad.

The process has been overseen by the Martyrs' Foundation, a branch of the Iraqi government. The 104 victims buried on Saturday were identified using DNA samples taken from their relatives.

So far, 16 mass graves have been exhumed, out of a total of 73 suspected sites.

One of those who attended the funeral in Kocho said some of the victims will never be found.

Obeid Khalaf, whose Yazidi relative was among those killed, said: "Some of these bones don't exist anymore, because floods swept them away."

Islamic State, also known as Daesh, ISIL and ISIS, took control of northern Iraq in 2014 and was in power until it was defeated by mostly Kurdish and Iraqi forces in 2017, with help from an international coalition including the UK.

The militants had no toleration of other faiths and tried to eradicate the Yazidis, a religious minority who have beliefs that are different from Muslim and Christian worshippers in the region.

Villages and religious sites were destroyed, men lined up and shot, and thousands of women and children kidnapped.

Many of those seized were traded as modern-day slaves.

Last year, Iraq and the UN began exhuming graves in the village of Kocho, where IS militants are believed to have massacred hundreds of Yazidis in August 2014, so victims could be given a dignified burial, after their remains were identified.

But some still continue to feel resentment at their treatment and anxieties over ongoing security.

Samysa, a Yazidi woman from Sinjar at the funeral who did not provide a surname, told the AP news agency: "We still consider ourselves in (a condition of) genocide because nothing has been done for the survivors, orphans or widows.

"Nothing has been done or provided to them until now, and there are no services inside Sinjar. And above all they (government) ask us to return voluntarily.

"How can we return if there was no security or safety. If you don't give us assurance, how can we come back?"