Authorities in Mosul have buried more than 1,000 bodies in a mass grave in a desert valley outside the city, most of them believed to be Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group militants, according to a provincial official. More remains are being dug out of the rubble of the district where the fighters made their final stand last year.
Hundreds more bodies are still strewn across or buried in Maydan district nine months after it was flattened in the final battles to retake Mosul, creating one of the grimmest scenes from a brutal war that was compared to the worst urban combat of World War II.
During a recent visit by The Associated Press, pieces of desiccated bodies, often in shreds of fighters' uniforms, were visible scattered in the ruins, which are also laced with unexploded bombs and unused suicide belts. In one place, the crown of a skull stuck out of the dirt, brilliant white with a fringe of leathery scalp and hair. One man lay crushed under the wreck of a car, his legs sticking up in the air.