A disturbing video filmed by soldiers fighting for the Kurdish Peshmerga reveals gruesome tactics used by Shiite militias battling to push Islamic State jihadists out of Iraq. The pictures show the beheaded corpses of two IS fighters being dragged on the ground by a vehicle.
The video was reportedly filmed more than two months ago, as a makeshift coalition of Peshmerga forces and Shiite groups battled to wrest the town of Amerli from the hands of extremists. Islamic State has sown terror amongst its enemies by deliberately nurturing a reputation for carrying out brutal atrocities. Yet this video appears to show that some of the group’s Shiite adversaries resort to the same cruel tactics.
The voices in the video translate from Kurdish as follows:
-Oh my god they beheaded them?
-You didn’t see? The heads were on the [inaudible]
-They have been already beheaded?
-Yes, they said that they had captured six of them and would behead them
The video shows two twisted, headless corpses being dragged by a vehicle down a dusty road. Two flags appear to be attached to the jeep, both of which belong to Shiite groups fighting the Islamic State group. The green flag represents the Badr Brigade, a paramilitary outfit reportedly under the control of the Iraqi Transport Minister. The bright yellow flag belongs to a Shiite militia feared for its bloody, brutal tactics: Saraya al-Khorasani. Another video - too gruesome to show here - uploaded to YouTube appears to show the one of the men - though already dead - being beheaded by possibly the same group of militants.
According to Human Rights Watch, the government has handed groups like Sarayaal-Khorasani key roles in the bloody battle against IS group despite being unaccountable to any official ministry. The same report accuses the Khorasani militia of indiscriminately razing Sunni villages recaptured from jihadists, as well as detaining and torturing the supposedly ‘liberated’ inhabitants. The militants reportedly use weapons supplied by the central government in Baghdad.
It’s not the first time groups opposed to Islamic State organisation's bloody onslaught have been caught carrying out copycat atrocities. A video reportedly filmed in September showed Shiite fighters holding up the severed heads of two IS jihadists whom they had decapitated. In the video, the men threaten to build a ‘mountain’ out of the skulls of their enemies.
This article was written by FRANCE 24 journalists Ershad Alijani (@ErshadAlijani) and Andrew Hilliar (@andyhilliar).