Dozens of bodies found in Syria mass grave: Local officials

AFP , Thursday 28 Jul 2022

Kurdish-affiliated authorities said Thursday they had found the remains of almost 30 bodies in a mass grave in northern Syria, with a war monitor saying they were likely killed by jihadists.

Syria, mass grave
File Photo: Syrian workers in Raqqa walk on a mass grave believed to contain the bodies of many hundreds of civilians and Islamic State fighters in Raqqa. AP


"At least 29 bodies, including those of a woman and two children, have been found in a mass grave," near a hotel in Manbij, said an official of the Kurdish-affiliated Manbij civilian council, who requested anonymity.

The jihadist Islamic State group had turned the hotel into a prison when it ruled the northern city between 2014 and 2016.

The mass grave was unearthed on Wednesday by municipal workers who were doing work on the sewerage system, according to the Manbij military council.

Some of the decomposed remains were found handcuffed and blindfolded, it said.

The military council said it was unclear when they were killed, but that it was during IS rule of Manbij.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said the remains are believed to belong to people abducted by IS fighters.

US-backed Kurdish-led forces took control of Manbij in 2016, after ousting the jihadists from the city.

Dozens of mass graves have been found in Iraq and Syria but the identification process is slow, costly and complicated.

IS seized large swathes of Iraq and Syrian territory in 2014, declaring a "caliphate" and killing thousands before they were detained.

One of the biggest alleged IS mass graves contained 200 bodies and was discovered in 2019 near Raqa, the group's former de-facto capital in Syria.

Rights groups have repeatedly called on Kurdish authorities and the Syrian government to investigate the fate of thousands who went missing during IS rule.

The missing include British reporter John Cantlie and Italian Jesuit priest Paolo Dall'Oglio.

Syria's war, which erupted in 2011 after the brutal repression of anti-government protests, has killed nearly half a million people and forced around half of the country's pre-war population from their homes.

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