IS mass grave uncovered in Syria's Raqqa

IS mass grave uncovered in Syria's Raqqa
A mass grave containing dozens, possible hundreds of bodies has been uncovered in the Syrian city of Raqqa, where IS ruled for more than three years.
2 min read
22 April, 2018
Raqqa was massively destroyed during the US-led offensive [AFP]
A mass grave has been uncovered in the Syrian city of Raqqa underneath a football pitch, which gives a glimpse at the final days of the Islamic State group in its self-described capital.

Fifty bodies have been already been discovered at the al-Rashid football stadium in Raqqa, with officials saying the pitch could hold as many as 200 corpses.

Syrian journalist Asaad Hanna had earlier stated the site could contain 500 bodies.

The grave is thought to contain the bodies of both IS fighters and civilians. Early signs indicate they died during the US-led blitz of Raqqa when Kurdish forces captured the city in October 2017, rather than being victims murdered by the group.

Bodies are marked with the first name of the deceased for civilians and the nom de-guerre of the fighters.

"It was apparently the only place available for burials, which were done in haste. The jihadists were holed up in the hospital," Abdallah al-Eriane, a senior official with Raqqa Civil Council told AFP.

The site was located near the hospital, where IS made its last stand against the Kurdish-majority Syrian Democratic Forces late last year.

Dozens of mass graves have been discovered in former IS territories in Syria and Iraq, containing the bodies of the many civilians or fighters who were murdered by the group during their brutal rule from 2014.

Thousands died during the SDF campaign against IS in Raqqa, with heavy shelling and bombing paving the way for the US-backed fighters to advance against the jihadi defenders.

Although IS have been all but defeated, the group has managed to carry out surprise assaults on Syrian regime forces and started a small-scale insurgency against Iraqi troops.

Agencies contributed to this story.