Many thousands of people disappeared without trace during the occupation of large parts of Iraq by the Islamic State (IS) group between 2013 and 2017, most of them feared buried in hundreds of mass graves around the country which remain unexcavated. But among the lost, whose families continue to seek news of their fate, are also former captives of the jihadists, who are now detained in Iraqi prisons suspected of being members of IS. The increasingly desperate families of the vanished are demanding action to establish the truth about what happened to their relatives, and the mounting anger has become an issue in this weekend’s parliamentary elections in the country. Jérémy André reports from the city of Mosul in northern Iraq.
Exiled Syrian scientists have told Mediapart that the Damascus regime drew up plans to use chemical weapons against internal opposition two years before the start of the current civil war in 2011. The scientists, who were involved in the making of the weapons but who defected after misgivings about its use inside the country, say the country's president Bashar al-Assad had become unnerved by protests in Iran in 2009 and the regime had ordered seven military basses to be made ready to store chemical weapons – including sarin gas. René Backmann reports.
Rachid Kassim, who US and French authorities have said was killed in an air strike on Islamic State group positions near the beseiged city of Mosul last week, and who was suspected of coordinating terorist attacks in France, left an audi recording critical of the group's leadership for not taking part in front-line actions.
The French president, hosting an international conference in Paris to debate stabilisation of the Iraqi city once it is freed from control by the Islamic State (IS) group, said 'we can't afford mistakes' in the pursuit of IS members fleeing Mosul for the group's stronghold of Raqa in Syria.
Two Kurdish Peshmerga fighters were killed and two French troops seriously wounded when a booby-trapped drone crashed to the ground near them north of the beseiged town of Mosul held by the Islamic State group group.