He and a dozen others hid under boxes of potato chips in a truck but were caught near the Syrian border. On some occasions, terrified workers helped get bodies back to grieving loved-ones – and even sewed heads back onto the bodies of beheading victims Every day, the doctors and staff witnessed the worst of what the militants were capable of inflicting on a human being, constantly fearing they could be next.He stopped when one militant saw a body with the head restored.
Written on a wall is one of the slogans of the group: ‘Baqiya’ – Arabic for ‘We will remain.Iraqi troops liberated western Mosul in the summer of 2017, and much of the medical complex where the morgue is located was bombed into ruins during the fighting that drove out the militants. The staff sometimes faced up to 60 or even 100 corpses a day.He met the businessmen at night in a parking garage, switching off the headlights of their cars for fear of airstrikes. Pictured: Medical assistant Sameh al-Azzawi walks inside a refrigerated container carrying dozens of bodies in a morgue in Mosul Pictured: Chief medical assistant Raid Jassim adjusting his gloves before inspecting a body Mosul morgue.
He warned that any examiner caught doing it would himself be beheaded. Share this article Share So al-Azzawi violated the rules: He picked out some thick thread and quickly sewed the man’s head back on, then zipped him up in the body bag.Jassim is a chain smoker and smoking was a crime.The family quietly thanked him.The morgue in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was where atrocity met bureaucracy, the processing point for the machine of butchery that the Islamic State group created across its territory in Iraq and Syria. The office of the ISIS health minister was located there.Months later, al-Azzawi tried to escape Mosul with a smuggler’s help. Pictured: An ISIS fighter gloating in Mosul after its capture in 2014It was the primary medical facility for the militants, so fighters were brought from elsewhere in Iraq and even Syria for treatment. The morgue in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul was where atrocity met bureaucracy, the processing point for the machine of butchery that ISIS created across its territory in Iraq and Syria.
Bullets thumped into the already dead and finished off the young man. His 13-year-old son – fearing for his father – won’t sleep apart from him. They report seeing dozens of beheaded corpses, women with their skulls caved in from stoning and men with bones crushed after they were thrown from tall buildings for homosexuality. The 43-year-old veteran doctor and surgeon was well known among his staff for his calm.In February 2016, she had posted on her Facebook page: ‘Snow is falling. On the spot, they cut off his head for blasphemy. His job was to sign off on the cause of death for victims’ brutalised corpses. ’We cut it and you put it back?’ the fighter shouted.Another time he was severely beaten with a rifle butt in the office of ISIS’s deputy health minister, where he was taken after he refused a fighter’s demand that he forge a death certificate. Six girls shot in the head. The staff sometimes dealt with up to 60 or even 100 corpses a day. ‘You brought her?’ the businessman asked. Burying the trauma Al-Azzawi recounts how tragedy after tragedy gradually broke him down.’You can’t talk or explain. As they put together death certificates, the examiners quietly documented ISIS atrocities.One day, he was going through the latest body bags when he saw a name he recognized pinned to a corpse.. As a forensics doctor, he also had to investigate the ‘crimes’ of the living – like signing medical examinations of whether women accused of adultery were virgins or not. Pictured: Chief medical assistant Raid Jassim stands next to the body of a man in the morgue Mohammed Hassan Ali covers his nose as he looks at the bodies of suspected Islamic State militants inside a church near his house in the old city of Mosul. A broken skull on a man with internal bleeding could mean he was thrown from a rooftop, the punishment for those suspected of being gay. The metal desks in the morgue offices have ISIS stickers on the drawers.After that excruciating torment, the family should at least to be able to bury her, Jassim thought. Instead, they were dumped in mass graves. As pickup trucks laden with bodies did three-point turns to back through the morgue’s gates, hands, legs or heads fell off onto the ground. Pictured: Mosul in July A few months after ISIS took over, a militant brought in the body of a Yazidi woman, one of thousands from the religious minority group taken as sex slaves. A woman with a split skull from blunt force was likely stoned to death, the sentence for accused adulterers.The men who worked for Mosul’s morgue while the city endured the barbaric rule of ISIS fanatics have spoken of the horrors they witnessed. Every day, the doctors and staff witnessed the worst of what the militants were capable of inflicting on a human being, constantly fearing they could be next.’This is a message to anyone who betrays the Caliphate,’ one fighter yelled. He could sew a head back on a body in four minutes. Then there were punishments for spying or blasphemy: a gunshot wound through the head or decapitation. Others bore the marks of ISIS’s brutal enforcement of its radical version of Islamic law. The victim had been seized for selling cigarettes, a crime usually punished by flogging by ISIS extremists who had occupied Mosul..’ Next to it, someone has scrawled an insult: ‘Son of dog. Federal policemen pray inside an abandoned house used as a temporary base in the hospital complex where the morgue was located Mosul Senior examiner Modhar al-Omari stands outside a refrigerated container carrying dozens of bodies in the morgue. Iraqi troops liberated western Mosul in the summer of 2017, and much of the medical complex where the morgue is located was bombed into ruins during the fighting that drove out the militants. Among those rules: The bodies of those ‘executed under religious law’ could not be returned to their families, except in cases where an ISIS commander allowed it. As pickup trucks laden with bodies did three-point turns to back through the morgue’s gates, hands, legs or heads fell off onto the ground. Pressure, pressure, pressure,’ said Raid Jassim, the chief medical assistant. The pay was several times more than what he’d earn in a government hospital. Some staffers have disappeared since liberation, simply not showing up to work.Al-Azzawi managed to sew the heads back on about 10 bodies, he estimates.’He’s still alive!’ the assistant shouted instinctively. He spent 10 days in detention, released only after he signed a pledge never to flee again on pain of death. Jassim’s two young sons, outside the office, heard their father’s screams.He got some revenge by passing on information. Jassim then opened his car’s trunk so they could pull out his wife’s corpse.On some occasions, terrified workers helped get bodies back to grieving loved-ones – and even sewed heads back onto the bodies of beheading victims.But while he was being whipped, he shouted a curse insulting religion. The man broke into tears and hugged him in gratitude. It was his cousin. That meant the staff was under the militants’ eyes all the time. He was used to wearing suits, but under ISIS he was forced to wear the ‘Islamic’ garb of shortened pants and a long beard that the group said was the style of Muhammad, the man Muslims regard as a prophetBut no training prepared him for what he saw under the killers ruling his city. His family was waiting outside – it was one of the occasional times when the fanatics allowed the return of someone killed by the group. I told you I was going to marry you,’ the fighter pleaded.He hardly had time to realize his mistake. He secretly told the government in Baghdad when several senior commanders were killed in airstrikes. Al-Omari, the chief examiner, has been numbed by the helplessness he felt in the face of the fanatics’ dictates and butchery.’In 2005, Jassim was overjoyed to get a government posting at Mosul’s Forensic Department, the morgue. It was the processing point for Islamic State’s machine of butcheryOnce, a man who had been savagely decapitated by ISIS murderers was brought to the table of Sameh al-Azzawi, a 35-year-old medical assistant at the morgue. ‘I always expected them to come at any moment and kill or behead us. Jassim can’t sleep without popping multiple Valium pills. Pictured: The body of a man lies on the floor of the morgue Yet the morgue men of Mosul found ways large and small to defy their captors by honouring the dead as best they could.As the medical assistants went to work, one of them stopped short in surprise: Among the bodies, a young man in a soccer jersey and training pants who had been thrown off a rooftop was breathing. He was a graduate of a medical institute, a two-year diploma after high school, and had gone on to serve as an army nurse. The ISIS fighter opened fire with his automatic rifle, spraying the bodies.The staff operated under close scrutiny by ISIS officials and threat of punishment if they broke the rules or tried to leave. She had hanged herself after being repeatedly gang-raped..’I couldn’t believe it, I was reading the piece of paper over and over,’ he said. He hid his pack under his belt, covering up the smell with a spray of musk. The examiners suspected the two were ISIS members who had turned against the group.. RELATED ARTICLES Previous 1 Next Revealed: Teenage girl who ran away to join ISIS boasted to. The city’s morgue is now handling hundreds of the dead from the battle to drive out ISIS A broken skull on a man with internal bleeding could mean he was thrown from a rooftop, the punishment for those suspected of being gay. Pictured: An Iraqi federal policeman walks outside the damaged morgue in the main hospital complex in Mosul. Thousands more went directly into mass graves without ever coming to the morgue and ISIS brought at least 1,000 bodies to the morgue that they did not allow the staff to examine, so they have no idea who they were and did not record them. You just keep it inside,’ he says. The metal desks in the morgue offices have ISIS stickers on the drawers. Then there were punishments for spying or blasphemy: a gunshot wound through the head or decapitation..’ Some were the mangled bodies of ISIS fighters and sometimes civilians killed in bombings by the US-led coalition or fighting with Iraqi troops.One evening, fighters drove up with two men, alive, in the trunk of their car.’One day after seeing 60 bodies, he went home and smashed his TV set.’Freed, the morgue men struggle with what they endured. They pulled them into the morgue courtyard and – in front of staffers too terrified to say a word – they shot one in the head and decapitated the other.The 43-year-old veteran doctor and surgeon was well known among his staff for his calm. Was it a message for the staff somehow?’In these occasions, we don’t open our mouths. Pictured: Unexploded mortar shells gathered on a street in the main hospital complex area in Mosul The staff operated under close scrutiny by ISIS officials and threat of punishment if they broke the rules or tried to leave.Jassim, 48, watched in horror and disgust as the militant spoke to the body. ’Get up!’ an ISIS fighter screamed at the staff, summoning them to begin their daily task of sorting through biscuit production line the dead.But in a few cases, he and other staffers smuggled the dead to their families before they vanished into mass graves. Still, he was caught and punished with 30 lashes. Convinced its ‘caliphate’ was here to stay, ISIS fanatics were keen on keeping records like a government. ‘He’s alive!’A pickup truck dumped nearly a dozen bodies onto the pavement of the morgue courtyard, the latest delivery. Among those rules: The bodies of those ‘executed under religious law’ could not be returned to their families, except in cases where an ISIS commander allowed it.’ It also lists 95 people who were beheaded and 50 men and boys who died from a ‘fall from a height,’ likely hurled from rooftops. ‘I have ruined my life’: German jihadi schoolgirl facing.But he says he has never cried for the dead.’Our profession as doctors is all about humanity,’ said the morgue’s senior examiner, Modhar al-Omari.The morgue was located in the al-Shifaa medical complex, a large compound in the western half of Mosul that included the city’s main hospital, Jomhouriya, and other facilities. As they put together death certificates, the examiners quietly documented ISIS atrocities. ‘If I cried, I’d cry every day for every single body.’ Advertisement. But they didn’t know why the fighters brought them to the morgue to kill. The face was unrecognizable – he had been shot in the head for alleged spying. She had hanged herself after being repeatedly bread production line gang-raped. Pictured: An aerial view of the damaged hospital complex and surrounding areasOne Excel sheet shows more than 1,200 people shot in the head, a likely sign of ISIS ‘executions,’ between June 2014 when the fanatics took over Mosul and January 2017, when Iraqi forces were fighting to take the city back – an average of 11 a week.Convinced its ‘caliphate’ was here to stay, ISIS fanatics were keen on keeping records like a government.He was a newlywed.In one case, Jassim inspected the body of a woman who had been killed for allegedly feeding information to the Iraqi military. ‘They were doing the exact opposite. He was used to wearing suits, but under ISIS he was forced to wear the ‘Islamic’ garb of shortened pants and a long beard that the group said was the style of Muhammad, the man Muslims regard as a prophet. At the morgue, he carried out examinations of bodies under supervision of doctors like al-Omari.After that, ‘anything they ask for I do without complaint. Pictured: Civilians fleeing Mosul during its liberation in July A stench now pervades the morgue from bodies that were in the refrigerators and are now buried in the rubble.’ That seemed suspiciously like code to the Islamist savages, and she was arrested.A stench now pervades the morgue from bodies that were in the refrigerators and are now buried in the rubble. They did it in secret, at night, cutting electricity to shut off the morgue’s security cameras as they hustled the bodies into their cars.’It’s a lot of pressure. The judge allowed her husband and children to meet with her for an hour before she was taken out to a public square and shot to death. A woman with a split skull from blunt force was likely stoned to death, the sentence for accused adulterers. We just stay silent,’ Jassim said. It had to be quick.. He did it after midnight in the washing area, which ISIS fighters tended to stay out of because it was the worst smelling part of the morgue. ‘Why did you kill yourself? I told you I am not selling you to the commander. They surreptitiously put an Arabic letter alif to mark a member of the group, and an M, the first letter in the Arabic word for ‘executed,’ for the group’s victims. Jihadists claiming to be ‘Islamic State in Central Africa’.The atrocities his staff were forced to contend with seemed endless: 16 boys under the age of 14 shot in the head