Russia: Mass Graves Found in Former Rebel Areas of Syria’s Aleppo

Syrian Observatory Confirms Findings, Can't Say How Civilians Died

by Jason Ditz, December 26, 2016

Russia’s Defense Ministry today announced that their forces have discovered mass graves in eastern Aleppo territory recently captured from the al-Qaeda-dominated rebels, saying that the civilians within showed signs of torture, and that many appeared to have been summarily executed.

Syrian state media reported that the bodies were mostly found in prisons run by the rebels, and that the slain were “found to have been executed by gunshot at very close range.” The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights confirmed the mass graves were found, but said they couldn’t say for sure how the people died.

Details are always difficult to confirm out of war-torn Aleppo, but there were reports of infighting among the various rebel factions within eastern Aleppo shortly before their defenses started to collapse outright. Indeed, many rebels blamed the infighting for the losses they sustained at the time.

Beyond that, months of artillery and airstrikes between the two sides in Syria also killed huge numbers of civilians, so it isn’t necessarily surprising that there would be mass graves. If the civilians do turn out to mostly be summary executions, however, that may suggest the infighting was worse and longer in eastern Aleppo than anyone realized.

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