Two hundred corpses, including those of people believed to have been executed by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), have been found near the Syrian city of al-Raqa, AFP reported Wednesday (July 3rd).
The mass grave contained the bodies of five middle-aged men in orange jumpsuits of the kind typically worn by ISIS hostages, according to Yasser al-Khamees, who heads a team of first responders, and the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.
"They were shackled and shot in the head," Khamees said.
They were believed to have been killed more than two years ago, he said, adding that his team was not immediately able to identify them.
The grave also included the bodies of three women who were believed to have been stoned to death, Khamees and the Observatory said.
"Their skulls were severely fractured and displayed signs of stoning," the local official added.
The digger said his team first discovered the mass grave early last month on the southern edges of al-Raqa.
As many as 800 people could be buried there in total, he said.
Its discovery could help identify even more of the several thousand people whose fates remain unknown, including foreigners imprisoned by ISIS.
In February, an exhumation team uncovered a mass grave holding an estimated 3,500 people in al-Raqa’s al-Fukheikha agricultural suburb -- the largest to date.
Several other mass graves have been identified around the city, including one in the neighbourhood known as "Panorama" from which more than 900 bodies were exhumed.