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Syrian troops ‘discover mass grave in Palmyra’

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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.

The discovery comes as Syria’s partial ceasefire appears to be unravelling after at least 25 pro-government fighters died in clashes with opposition forces near Aleppo.

A state news agency in Syria reported that government forces had uncovered the mass grave 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 had 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.

During its occupation of Palmyra, Isis killed at least 280 people, according to the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor that confirmed the discovery of the mass grave.

Soon after Isis took the city, its fighters shot dead 25 soldiers in the ancient Roman theatre. It later released a video of the mass killing in which the killers appeared to be children or teenagers.

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.

Source: Guardian, Photograph: AP

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