Families of victims commemorate 33rd anniversary of Anfal campaign carried out by regime of Saddam Hussein

DUHOK, Iraq — On the 33rd anniversary of the Anfal campaign during which the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein massacred upward of 180,000 people during an “anti-insurgency” campaign.

From early 1987 to late 1988, approximately 4,500 Kurdish and at least 31 Chaldean-Syriac-Assyrian Christian villages in northern Iraq were destroyed, displacing at least a million people.

Amnesty International collected the names of more than 17,000 people who had “disappeared” in 1988.

According to Human Rights Watch, the overwhelming majority of those killed were “battle-age” men and boys.

On Wednesday, a remembrance event was held for the victims of the massacres at the abandoned site of the notorious Nugra Salman prison complex in Dohuk during which the families of victims lit 33 candles.

In 2011, the Iraqi High Criminal Court considered the Anfal campaign a crime against humanity. It condemned the former Iraqi defense minister Ali Hassan al-Majeed for supervising a chemical attack on the city of Halabja in the Sulaymaniyah Governorate. The Court sentenced him to death, the execution carried out not long after.