Raqqa working on mass graves: 5,700 bodies recovered so far

After Raqqa was liberated from ISIS in November 2017, emergency response teams started to recover the bodies left the rubble piles in the city.

Many mass graves in which ISIS had buried thousands of its victims were discovered and excavated in the Raqqa city.

So far Raqqa Civil Council and its Emergency Teams have recovered 5,700 bodies in 25 mass graves they opened. In total so far, 29 mass graves have been identified.

Once the mass graves were opened, it was found that some contained bodies belonging to ISIS mercenaries, while others contained the remains of women and children.

Many bodies, including those of foreign journalists, were recovered in the mass graves opened by the emergency response teams. Since DNA tests were not carried out, the identity of the bodies buried could not be established.

Some of the mass graves were found on the edge of the Euphrates River, some in the city center, and some in the neighborhood of Bedo.

Emergency response teams started working on these points after people who witnessed the burials informed them.

Some 5,700 bodies were removed from mass graves opened in various places. After the mass graves were identified, specialist and forensic medicine doctors worked to recover the remains and try to establish the identity of the victims.

700 people could be identified

Emergency Response Team officer Yasir Xemîs told ANHA that they started their work after the city was liberated. He added that they opened 25 of the 29 mass graves they identified in Raqqa. "There are bodies of murdered men in the mass graves but also women and children bodies. Local sources said that foreigners were also killed and buried there. These people are likely to be foreign journalists. Forensic doctors perform an autopsy on the bodies we recover. It is difficult to establish the identity of the dead as often we can't carry out DNA test. So far, we have been able to identify 700 bodies. We identified most of these people based on the documents found on them."