Anwar al-Muhammad was wandering around the garbage dump like he had done for years, looking for anything of value that could be traded or sold, when he suddenly smelt a strange smell. It was moldy mixed with the reek of flesh. At first he thought it was a dead dog.
What the 35-year-old garbage collector found instead in the landfill in the village of Hadath east of Aleppo would turn his life upside down, and turn him into a very rich man.
As it turned out, the smell emanated from the partly decomposed body of someone recently liquidated by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS).“If it were not for the remains of God’s creation, I would not have been able to build my house on the land I inherited from my father,” said Anwar pointing at his home. “Look, it has a courtyard and stone fences. And I have planted olive seedlings.”
Having dug a hole next to the dump Anwar buried what was left of the corpse. He feared leaving it out in the open might attract stray dogs. This was in August 2014.