BEIRUT: A local official in Syria’s Raqqa said workers have unearthed 313 bodies from a mass grave discovered last month near the northern city.
Yasser Al-Khamees who leads a team of first responders says among the bodies found are those belonging to civilians, including women and children, as well as people believed to have been shot dead by Daesh militants.
The mass grave was discovered in mid-June on the southern edges of Raqqa. The city was the de facto capital of the Daesh’s so-called Islamic caliphate, which spanned territories in Syria and Iraq.
US-backed Syrian forces retook the city from Daesh in 2014 after gruesome battles that killed thousands and left the city in ruins.
Several other mass graves have previously been discovered in and around Raqqa.
Separately, the Syrian regime said a gas plant resumed operations Monday after repairs to a key pipeline put out of service by a sabotage attack at the weekend.
“The Ebla gas plant resumed production at full capacity” at dawn Monday after repair of the sabotaged pipeline, the Ministry of Oil and Mineral Resources said in a statement.
The pipeline in the Badiya desert, where Daesh is present, transports gas from the regime-controlled Shaer gas field, the country’s largest, in the central province of Homs to the Ebla plant.
It feeds the Ebla plant with 2.5 million cubic meters of gas per day, according to the ministry.
On Sunday, regime's news agency SANA said that a “terrorist attack” by unidentified perpetrators had put the pipeline out of service.
The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said a bomb blast targeted the pipeline.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
The Badiya desert is the scene of regular clashes between regime forces and Daesh, which retains the ability to strike despite losing all the territory it once held in Syria.
The country’s eight-year war has seen the regime lose control of key oil fields and caused state hydrocarbon revenues to plummet by billions of dollars.
The regime of President Bashar Assad has been slapped with a raft of Western economic sanctions, extending to hydrocarbons.
Last month, underwater pipelines connected to a refinery in western Syria were sabotaged.