Iraqi authorities will begin identifying the remains of 141 people exhumed from mass graves in the Yazidi region of Sinjar, the head of Baghdad's forensic office said Thursday (June 6th).
"The remains will first be examined, and then DNA samples will be taken to compare with samples gathered from families," Zaid al-Yousef told AFP.
The efforts are part of an investigation by the Iraqi government and a special UN team to collect evidence of crimes committed by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS).
The UN began its joint probe last year, exhuming the first mass graves of ISIS victims around the town of Kojo in Sinjar in March.
It said last month that 12 of 16 identified grave sites around Kojo had been exhumed.
But Yousef said the next phase of identifying the victims would be a fraught process.
"We took around 1,280 samples from families in Sinjar, but the problem is that for a lot of them, there is just a single survivor and the rest are all missing," he said.
"If we compare it with other terrorist attacks, we would find three, four, or five survivors for every missing person. But here, we have three, four, or five missing people for a single survivor," Yousef added.
He said the identification process would also be impacted by the rate of intermarriage among Yazidis, who very rarely wed outside the community.