On the Huffington Post, it is claimed

"We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis fleeing Sinjar and some who escaped death, and also crime scene images that show indisputably that the gangs of the Islamic State have executed at least 500 Yazidis after seizing Sinjar," he said

"Some of the victims, including women and children were buried alive in scattered mass graves in and around Sinjar."

Is this true? If so, where is the evidence?

closed as off-topic by Sklivvz Aug 17 '14 at 9:00

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  • 3
    The evidence is the Iraqi human rights minister's phone call to Reuters yesterday, as reported here. Does that answer your question, or are you looking for other evidence? – ChrisW Aug 10 '14 at 22:27
  • @ChrisW No, I'd rather have direct evidence rather than secondary accounts. – user20862 Aug 10 '14 at 22:52
  • Is direct evidence eye-witness evidence (always seems strange to me, so unreliable)? ISIS claiming they do so? Is film material really evidence, or would that be questioned too? – Spork Aug 10 '14 at 23:05
  • @georgechalhoub They've been pretty consistent. If they did it once, given the opportunity, they'll do it again, and it may be better accounted. – user20862 Aug 10 '14 at 23:57
  • 1
    just a little note: In an effort to show an account of mutually exclusive political agendas I researched the human rights minister: Mohammed Shia al-Sudani. However, he's pretty Shia (no surprise under Al Maliki, I suppose)... so it's not an exclusive agenda. No further sources found, at the moment. – Spork Aug 11 '14 at 9:26

The twitter account which supports Islamic state news has released a document which states that this and many other news reports spread by Iraqi officials were false, and implies that the Iraqi government intended that the reports should bring America into the war.

The document includes tweets from an independent investigator which concur that reports of the massacre were false:

enter image description here

The document also links to refutation of other stories:

"Islamic State burns down churches in Mosul" DEBUNKED

Islamic State publishes "Female Genital Mutilation" Fatwa DEBUNKED

Islamic State soldier forces marriage on 9 year old Christian girl DEBUNKED

Many lies that originated from Kurdish Media and Activists DEBUNKED

Islamic State buried young girls alive DEBUNKED

For completeness sake, note that Matthew Barber later tweeted the following clarification:

  • 1) To clarify: we don't yet know that the Iraqi HR minister spread a "fake story;” we just know that a massacre didn't occur in Hatimiya,
  • 2) from where I was receiving (true) reports of convert-or-die ultimatum. Many individual killings/killings of small groups are reported.
  • 3) Massacres may have occurred elsewhere. Al-Sudani’s report of large-scale kidnapping of women is corroborated by many accounts.

There is a twitter hashtag devoted to refutation of such rumors.

Some of the information contained in this post requires additional references. Please edit to add citations to reliable sources that support the assertions made here. Unsourced material may be disputed or deleted.

  • 7
    Does it "show" that the reports were false, or does it only "say" that the reports were false? – ChrisW Aug 12 '14 at 15:19
  • 1
    Who are the "independent investigators" who concur that the massacre is false, where are their tweets, and what evidence is there to suggest that they are "independent" and/or "investigators"? – ChrisW Aug 12 '14 at 15:21
  • 1
    twitter.com/Matthew__Barber – skept101 Aug 12 '14 at 15:26
  • 3
    While I value this answer as it's sourced and I have my share of doubts about the minister for human rights, in itself there are just too many twitterers claiming the opposite for immediate trust in 'independent investigators'. E.g. twitter.com/jeanniemcbride/status/497018278322376705/photo/1 – Spork Aug 12 '14 at 15:51
  • 2
    I just don't how an anonymous webpage retweeted by a supposed jihadist (or supporter thereof) gets considered as a reliable source. – Benjol Aug 13 '14 at 11:03

The Huffington Post article is based on this 'exclusive' Reuters report dated "BAGHDAD Sun Aug 10, 2014 8:00am EDT", which contains the sentence you quoted, i.e.:

"We have striking evidence obtained from Yazidis...".

However this slightly later article by CNN dated August 11, 2014 (Updated 1746 GMT), quotes a close (but not identical) source, i.e. this time a "spokesman" from the Iraqi human rights ministry rather than the minister himself, as saying,

On Sunday, Iraqi Ministry of Human Rights spokesman Kamil Amin said it was possible that as many as 500 Yazidis had been killed. The ministry had also heard reports -- but had not confirmed -- that some had been buried alive.

"It's difficult to be accurate about these numbers, but initially we have reported 500 Iraqi Yazidis have died from either ISIS direct killings or from starvation and dehydration," Amin told CNN. "We have heard some reports from activists and local journalists that some families were buried alive."

CNN is unable to authenticate reports regarding the Yazidi death toll or the allegation that some were buried alive.

Instead of the original "we have striking evidence" he is now being quoted as "we heard unconfirmed reports".

You asked, "Is this true? If so, where is the evidence?"

This answer cannot tell you whether the reports are true: I posted this answer because it clarifies the evidence on which the claim was made (i.e. that the evidence was, allegedly, unconfirmed reports from activists and local journalists; and that CNN was unable to authenticate the reports).