MORE than 3,500 bodies have been found in a mass grave left behind by ISIS fighters as they were driven out of their terror stronghold.
So far the remains of 120 people – believed to have been executed by the jihadi group – have been dug up at a location in Syria.
AFP or licensors More than 3,500 bodies have been found in a mass grave in Syria
AFP or licensors The bodies were found on plot of farmland just outside Raqqa
Turki al-Ali, the force’s supervisor, said the site, on a plot of farmland outside the city of Raqqa, could be holding the bodies of ISIS hostages who were executed by the terror group.
Ali said: “We’ve heard accounts from residents of Al-Fukheikha that they would see people gathering with someone in an orange suit.”
ISIS would typically dress their captives in orange suits when they executed them.
Mounds of dirt line one side of the Al-Fukheikha plot as thousands more bodies have yet to be exhumed, Yahoo News reports.
Asaad Mohammad, the 56-year-old forensic assistant at the site, said: “These are individual graves, but behind us, by the trees, are the mass graves of those executed by Daesh (ISIS).
“There are some 2,500-3,000 bodies estimated there, plus between 900 and 1,100 bodies in the individual graves, so at least 3,500 total.”
LARGEST GRAVE IN RAQQA BY ISIS SINCE 2014
Eight other mass graves have already been found around the northern Syrian city, including one named “Panorama” that had more than 900 bodies removed.
Mohammad added that “Al-Fukheikha is the largest grave since IS came to Raqqa” in 2014.
Authorities learned of the burial ground last month, more than a year after US-backed forces captured Raqqa from ISIS and have closed in for a final battle further south in Baghouz.
Mohammad and his team have been carefully placing the remains in to white tarpaulin body bags – many are labelled “Unidentified”.
The bodies will be re-buried at a cemetery about 10 kilometres away.
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Sara Kayyali of Human Rights Watch said: “These mass graves hold the answers to the fate of people who had been executed by IS fighters, who died in coalition air strikes, or who have been missing.”
The force’s work started in January 2018, and more than 3,800 bodies have been exhumed across multiple burial sites in Raqqa.
Of that figure, 560 bodies were identifiable and handed over to the families for a proper burial.
AFP or licensors More than 120 bodies have been dug up so far
AFP or licensors It is the largest mass grave discovered since ISIS has come to Raqqa
AFP or licensors Many bodies have not been identified
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