The Syrian army finds a mass grave for “civilians and military personnel who have been executed” in Eastern Ghouta, which was considered the most prominent stronghold for the opposition factions near Damascus

The Syrian army found a mass grave containing 70 bodies of “civilians and military personnel executed” in Eastern Ghouta, near Damascus, according to the official Syrian News Agency (SANA) on Sunday night.

In 2018, government forces took control of the entire Eastern Ghouta, which was the main stronghold of the opposition factions near Damascus, after violent battles and a tight siege, and then an agreement was made in which tens of thousands of civilians and fighters were evacuated to the northwest of the country.

SANA reported that a unit of the army found “in cooperation with the competent authorities, a mass grave of civilians and military personnel who were executed by terrorist groups in the farms play area” in the city of Douma in Eastern Ghouta.

Damascus considers all the factions it is fighting as “terrorist.” Between 2012 and 2018, the Jaish al-Islam and Legion of Rahman factions controlled the greater part of Eastern Ghouta. Other factions were also present, including the Headquarters of Al Sham Liberation of (formerly Al Nusra Front) and the Islamic Ahrar A lSham movement.

Brigadier General Mohamed Mansour said that the bodies of the military police in Damascus were likely to return the bodies, including a woman, for the period between the beginnings of 2012 until 2014.

He said that Monday, work to recover more bodies would be completed.

“Most of the remains that were recovered were bound”, said the pathologist at Tishreen Military Hospital, Ayman Khalou, noting that two of them were identified, without giving further details about their identities.

He said that the initial disclosure showed that “the majority of them were executed by gunshots to the head”.

Agence France-Presse could not verify the authenticity of the reports on the circumstances of the death of the victims.

During the past years, a number of mass graves were found in areas previously controlled by ISIS, most notaby in the city of Raqqa, its former stronghold in Syria, and in the Deir Al Zour Governorate (east).

Human Rights Watch last week urged the Syrian authorities to investigate the fate of thousands of ISIS victims.