Human Rights

Syria: More evidence of ISIS brutality emerges as 5 mass graves found in Raqqa

Syria

Activists working to excavated a newly-discovered mass grave in Raqqa suspect that the bodies inside belong to ISIS victims of torture.

Another mass grave has been found in the Syrian city of Raqqa following ISIS’ defeat. According to the Rapid Response Team of the Raqqa Civil Council, the latest mass grave that has been discovered contains the bodies of over five hundred people dressed in orange jumpsuits, known to be used by ISIS during executions.

“We found more than 100 holes, and each hole can accommodate five or six people. We found five people who were executed on-site and dressed in orange,” said Yassir al-Khamis, the head of the Rapid Response Units. “The victims were handcuffed from behind, and the forensic report confirmed that they had been executed by bullets and from behind.”

The mass grave, which was found in a cemetery in the Talea Camp in the countryside of Raqqa, is said to contain the bodies of several journalists and foreigners that were kidnapped by the militant group. However, until a DNA test is conducted, the Rapid Response Units cannot confirm their identity.

“Details are still unclear, but this is important,” said al-Khamis. “In the previous discoveries, we realised that people of interest were dressed in orange before they were killed.”

Since the defeat of ISIS in Raqqa in October 2017, the Raqqa Civil Council has announced the discovery of dozens of mass graves containing over 4,600 bodies, many of them still unidentified.

As a result of these discoveries, the Civil Council announced that it would be conducting DNA tests on the bodies so that they are identified, handed back to their families, and given a proper burial by their loved one. However, the Council also stated that some of the bodies could not be identified via DNA testing due to the substantial damage that has been inflicted to them by the militant group.

With thousands of bodies still being uncovered with the discovery of new mass graves, citizens of Raqqa hope that they find the bodies of their loved ones so that they can say their final goodbye and begin to heal from the destruction that the war brought upon them.