Workers recover hundreds of bodies from Syrian mass grave

16.07.2019

In an open field on the outskirts of the Syrian city of Raqqa, workers in black uniforms, surgical masks and red hardhats toil under a scorching sun to dig up bodies from a large mass grave discovered last month.

They have so far unearthed 313 bodies from the grave since it was discovered last month, the official said. All of the dead are men, women and children believed to have been killed or died during the Islamic State group's rule over the northern city, once the de facto capital of the extremist group's so-called Islamic caliphate and the site of atrocities committed by the group against residents who opposed its extremist ideology.

The group at the time commanded large swathes of territory in Syria and Iraq that it administered based on its own radical version of Islamic rule.

US-backed Syrian forces retook Raqqa from IS in 2017 after a lengthy campaign that left the city in ruins. Since then, an organisation known as the Civil Council of Raqqa has been working to uncover mass graves in and around the city, amid concerns about the preservation of bodies and evidence for possible war crimes trials. International human rights groups say they are concerned that local groups are not getting the support they need in terms of forensic expertise and human resources. (AP)

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