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Amnesty: 2,500 bodies found under rubble in Raqqa

Published in: Amnesty International, Asia & Americas, International Organisations, Middle East, News, Syria, US

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Dead bodies of civilians are seen at the morgue of field hospital after Assad Regime's airstrikes and ground attacks to the Hammuriya town in the Eastern Ghouta region of Damascus, Syria on 19 February, 2018 [Abdul Moyeen Homs/Anadolu Agency]



Up to 2,500 bodies have been dug from the rubble in the Syrian city of Al-Raqqa, Amnesty International said on Friday.

Most of the dead were civilians after tens of thousands were displaced due to the US-led campaign against Daesh in the city.

Amnesty International’s Senior Director of Global Research, Anya Neistat, said in a press conference held in Beirut on Friday that “30,000 houses in Raqqa have been completely destroyed and 25,000 are partially destroyed. So far about 2,500 bodies have been dug from the rubble,” Reuters reported.

Neistat added: “To the extent that they [the search team] are able to identify the bodies, they believe that the majority of them are civilians. And the majority of these civilians have died as a result of coalition air strikes”. She continued: “Nobody knows what’s going to happen to the 3,000 bodies that still lie in the ground,” noting that about 80 per cent of the city is in ruins while “funding to recover them [is] poised to run out”.

READ: Over 1,000 bodies discovered in mass grave in Syria’s Raqqa

She added: “It is absolutely shocking in Raqqa how little over this last year has actually been done to bring life back to the city”.

Amnesty International’s new Secretary General, Kumi Naidoo, described the “horrific destruction and utter human devastation” he witnessed when he visited Al-Raqqa one year after the end of the US-led battle, saying: “What I saw in Raqqa shocked me to my core”.

He added: “The city is a shell – bombed-out buildings, very little running water or electricity, the stench of death hanging in the air. That anyone is still able to live there defies logic and stands as testimony to the remarkable resilience of the city’s civilians”.

READ: Almost 3,000 civilians have been killed by the international coalition in Syria

“Attacks by the US-led coalition not only killed hundreds of civilians but also displaced tens of thousands, who are now returning to a city in ruins, while many others languish in camps,” Naidoo lamented.