02:06 GMT25 February 2021
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    A Raqqa city official has not excluded that a total of 200 bodies would be unearthed from under a local football pitch after further excavation in the area, which was liberated from terrorists last year.

    A mass grave containing about 50 bodies of civilians and Daesh* terrorists has been discovered in the northern Syrian city of Raqqa, according to AFP news agency.

    It cited Abdallah al-Eriane, a senior official with the Raqqah Civil Council, as saying the grave is located under a football pitch adjacent to a local hospital.

    READ MORE: US Forces Leave Parts of Syria's Raqqa, French Troops Set to Move In — Reports

    "It was apparently the only place available for burials, which were done in haste. The jihadists were holed up in the hospital," he said, adding that some bodies were marked with Daesh insignia, while others had just first names.

    Al-Eriane added that up to 200 bodies could be uncovered from the pitch after further excavation.

    (File) This Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 frame grab made from drone video shows damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria
    © AP Photo / Gabriel Chaim
    (File) This Thursday, Oct. 19, 2017 frame grab made from drone video shows damaged buildings in Raqqa, Syria

    In the past few months, Syrian troops have repeatedly discovered mass graves around Raqqa in areas which were previously held by the terrorists. In particular, the government forces uncovered a mass grave with the remains of more than 30 people, killed by Daesh in Raqqa in February 2018.

    In early April, the Russian Defense Ministry released aerial footage of the bombing of Raqqa by the US-led coalition, saying that as a result of the airstrikes, "thousands of bodies of civilians that decompose and taint the groundwater are under the rubble."

    READ MORE: No to 'Occupation Forces': WATCH Militia in Raqqa Allegedly Shell US Base

    According to the Ministry, the humanitarian situation in the city, which lacks running water and electricity, remains extremely complicated; up to 30 civilians die due to mines every week.

    Raqqa was occupied by Daesh in 2013 and a year later, the terrorist group declared it the capital of their self-proclaimed caliphate.

    In late 2016, the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), supported by the US-led coalition, kicked off a military operation aimed to drive then terrorists out of the city. In October 2017, the SDF announced the full liberation of Raqqa, something that was later confirmed by the coalition.

    *Daesh (ISIL/ISIS/Islamic State), a terrorist group banned in Russia


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