“Analysis of photographs and satellite imagery strongly indicates that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria conducted mass executions in Tikrit after seizing control of the city on June 11, 2014,” Human Rights Watch said in a statement, using a different translation for the name of the same group. It suggested the death toll was between 160 and 190 men in at least two locations between June 11 and June 14. ISIL had claimed to have killed 1,700 Shiite soldiers in Tikrit, once a bastion of late dictator Saddam Hussein.
HRW acknowledged that the number of victims may well be much higher than the bodies it found, as it underscored the challenge accessing the area.
“The photos and satellite images from Tikrit provide strong evidence of a horrible war crime that needs further investigation,” said HRW emergencies director Peter Bouckaert.
The rights group located two of the trenches filled with bodies by cross-checking against ground features and landmarks in the photographs released by ISIL.