Syrian troops 'discover mass grave in Palmyra'
State news agency says government troops have found bodies of 42 people killed while Islamic State controlled the area.
Syrian troops have reportedly discovered a mass grave in Palmyra that contains the bodies of 42 people, some beheaded, who were killed while Islamic State fighters controlled the ancient city.
A state news agency in Syria reported that government forces had uncovered the site after the area, home to world-renowned Roman ruins, was recaptured from Isis almost a week ago.
A military source told AFP on Friday that the Syrian military found a grave site where officers, soldiers, members of pro-regime committees and their relatives had been buried.
Twenty-four of the victims were civilians, including three children, the source said. “They were executed either by beheading or by shooting.”
The grave was on the north-eastern edge of Palmyra, according to the news agency.
The bodies have been transferred to a military hospital in the provincial capital, Homs, and some have been identified, according to the source.
The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which monitors the Syrian conflict, said that Isis forces had killed a number of people at an earlier time and buried them in the mass grave.
The Syrian and Russian governments have hailed their recapture of Palmyra, ending a 10-month ordeal that resulted in the destruction of some of the historic site’s most famed monuments.
The fall of the city to Isis in May 2015 attracted worldwide attention because it hosted some of the most well-preserved ruins of antiquity.
Isis destroyed the temples of Bel and Baalshamin and the Arch of Triumph, looting graves and using the amphitheatre to stage executions.
The defeat of Isis in Palmyra was a remarkable turn of fortune for the militant fighters. The territory it controls in both in Syria and Iraq has receded considerably under disparate offensives throughout the two collapsing nation states.
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