Bodies of Iraqi troops returned. Photo: Mada Press
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – Iran has returned the bodies of 128 Iraqi soldiers killed in the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), according to Iraq’s ministry of defense.
The ministry says it has carried out DNA tests on the remains and identified all of the soldiers by name. It has called on relatives to visit the ministry to retrieve the bodies of their missing loved ones.
August 20 will mark 30 years since Iran accepted a UN-brokered ceasefire, ending the savage, eight-year conflict in a truce.
The war began in 1980 when then-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein exploited Iran’s disarray in the wake of its 1979 Islamic Revolution, launching a multi-front invasion of its territory to conquer its oilfields and seaports.
Vastly overstretched, vulnerable to being flanked, and lacking sufficient air cover, Saddam’s forces were pushed into retreat by Iranian forces.
The war became a costly stalemate, as both countries entered a phase of total war, involving chemical weapons, guerrilla warfare, and the targeting of civilians.
The war cost billions of dollars and claimed the lives of roughly 500,000 Iraqi and Iranian soldiers. A further 500,000 civilians are also thought to have died.
To this day, landmines and unexploded ordinance continue to claim the lives and limbs of civilians around Basra and the mountainous Kurdish regions.