Syria: 130 bodies recovered from mass graves in Idlib

The bodies of some 130 people, mostly anti-government militants fighting each other, have been found in mass graves in the northwestern Syrian province of Idlib.

The so-called Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a monitoring group based in Britain, said on Thursday that at least 131 bodies had been found earlier in the day and the previous day in two separate mass graves near the town of Khan Shaykhun.

Most of the bodies reportedly belonged to militants who were beheaded or shot after deadly clashes between rival groups in Idlib.

An official with the monitoring group said the slain militants were mostly affiliated to the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham, al-Qaeda’s former affiliate in Syria, and allied factions who were detained by a rival group, the so-called Jund al-Aqsa, and were then executed.

Meanwhile, a spokesman for the militant Jaish al-Nasr group said that 128 bodies had been found, adding that 71 of those killed were members of his group. He said that three journalists and 11 commanders were among the dead.

Another military source said the number of bodies was 128 and added that the graves were located inside a former army barracks that had been occupied by Jund al-Aqsa, believed to be close to the Daesh terrorist group.

Jund al-Aqsa’s confrontation with al-Qaeda-linked groups last week was mainly aimed at exerting control on Idlib and the neighboring Hama Province.

The victory of Syrian forces and their allies and liberation of the northern city of Aleppo in December ended in a deal for evacuation of militants and their families to Idlib.

According to the Observatory, Jund al-Aqsa has pulled back from Idlib to Hama and other areas.

The monitoring group also said 41 militant bodies had been found near the same area in Idlib last week.


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