A Syrian civil defence team has exhumed bodies from a grave in rural Aleppo that are believed to be the remains of Free Syrian Army (FSA) fighters executed by the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS), local activists said.
Though the bodies could not be identified due to their deteriorated condition, the grave's location near the town of Akhtarin indicates the victims were FSA fighters captured by ISIS during battles that took place in that area in 2014.
Iron shackles used to tie the hands and feet of the victims also indicate the remains belonged to victims executed ISIS-style, according to the activists.
The grave-site was discovered when an Akhtarin resident found remnants of human bones while repairing his house in the city, Aleppo media activist Faisal al-Ahmad told Diyaruna.
The resident contacted FSA security committee police, who examined the site along with a team from the civil defence, known as the White Helmets, he said.
According to a White Helmets member in Akhtarin, civil defence personnel exhumed the remaining bones on Sunday (July 17th) and determined there were at least three victims, with the number likely to rise to five.
Shackled hands and feet
The hands and feet of two bodies were shackled with iron chains, indicating death by execution, according to the civil defence member.
The Akhtarin area was occupied by ISIS in 2014 and was liberated by FSA factions after several attacks and retreats in 2016, al-Ahmad said.
"When it was under the group’s control, ISIS elements carried out the most heinous forms of persecution and execution against anyone who opposed them," he said.
The group committed unspeakable atrocities in 2014 and during the battles that followed ISIS's takeover of the area, he added.
The bodies were buried without identification, but they are likely the remains of FSA elements captured in the battles of 2014, as remnants of military uniforms were found with the bodies, al-Ahmad said.
"Akhtarin town council may send bone samples to a neighbouring country for a DNA test to try to determine the identities of the victims," he said.
Other grave sites where ISIS buried its victims were discovered near Akhtarin, in the towns of Jabal Barsaya and Jazer, he added.