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Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 19 June 2018

Assad regime strikes kill family of three in Syria's Yarmouk

Nearly 50 bodies were recovered from a mass grave in the former de facto 'capital' of ISIS in northern Syria, Raqqa

Smoke billows in a southern district of the Syrian capital Damascus, during regime strikes targeting ISIS in the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk, and neighbouring districts, on April 21, 2018. Rami Al Sayed / AFP
Smoke billows in a southern district of the Syrian capital Damascus, during regime strikes targeting ISIS in the Palestinian camp of Yarmouk, and neighbouring districts, on April 21, 2018. Rami Al Sayed / AFP

A family of three was killed late on Saturday in a wave of government strikes in Syria’s southern district, a monitor said, as dozens of bodies were found in a mass grave in the former ISIS-stronghold of Raqqa.

Forces loyal to President Bashar Al Assad are waging an intense bombing campaign against the Yarmouk Palestinian refugee camp, located on the edge of Damascus, and nearby districts that are held by ISIS.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based monitor group, said on Sunday that a man, his wife and their child were killed in the Yarmouk shelling.

The National
The National

"This brings to nine the number of civilians killed since the shelling escalated on Thursday," said Observatory chief Rami Abdel Rahman.

He added that the bombing and clashes continued into Sunday, with air strikes artillery, and surface-to-surface missiles hitting the neighbourhood.

Yarmouk was once a densely-populated and thriving district of the capital, but it has been ravaged by violence since Syria's conflict broke out in 2011.

The Assad regime imposed a crippling siege on the camp in 2012, and fighting among rebels and rival groups has exhausted residents.

In 2015, ISIS overran most of Yarmouk, and the small numbers of other rebels and extremists, including from Al Qaeda's former affiliate, that had a presence there agreed to withdraw just a few weeks ago.

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Meanwhile, nearly 50 bodies were recovered from a mass grave in the former de facto “capital” of ISIS in northern Syria, Raqqa, a local official said.

The extremists were ousted by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces in October 2017.

The mass grave was located under a football pitch, close to a hospital where the extremists had dug in before being chased out of the city.

"It was apparently the only place available for burials, which were done in haste. The jihadists were holed up in the hospital," the official said, adding that some bodies were marked with the nom de guerre of the extremist while civilians just had first names.

In recent months, both Syria and Iraq have discovered mass graves in areas previously occupied by ISIS.

Syrian troops uncovered a mass grave containing the remains of more than 30 people killed by ISIS in Raqqa province in February.

It followed two other similar finds by the Syrian army.

ISIS, which proclaimed a "caliphate" over swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, has now lost almost all the land it once controlled.

It has been held responsible for multiple atrocities during its reign of terror, including mass executions and decapitations.