Monday, June 20, 2011

Third mass grave found in Syria

This June 20 shows a mass grave containing the bodies of Syrian soldiers in the town of Jisr al-Shughour.

Source: Press TV

A new mass grave containing the bodies of Syrian soldiers has been found near the northern town of Jisr al-Shughour, reports say.

According to the Syrian state television, it is the third mass grave discovered in the crisis-hit town over the past few days.

Syrian authorities say the grave contains the bodies of at least 29 soldiers which are decomposed and decapitated and bear marks of torture. Damascus says the soldiers were killed by armed gangs.

Syria's foreign ministry invited journalists and ambassadors from some 30 countries to see the burial site. The delegation was later taken to the local security forces headquarters where the authorities say 82 policemen were killed by armed men on June 6, AFP reported.

US Ambassador to Syria Robert Ford was among the envoys.

Meanwhile, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad addressed the nation on Monday and expressed regret about those killed in the protests, saying that they were a great loss to the nation and him personally.

He also said that a national dialogue committee would be formed soon to create a reform plan and another committee would be set up to examine the constitution.

The Syrian president also blamed saboteurs for the unrest in the country, saying they are trying to exploit a movement seeking legitimate reforms in the country.

Damascus has called on the people of Jisr al-Shughour to return to the town, saying security forces managed to clear the area of armed groups and that the government has restored control there.

Many Syrians fled from Jisr al-Shughour into Turkey after armed groups launched deadly attacks in the area.

At least 120 Syrian soldiers were killed and many wounded after armed groups attacked police and security stations in the town earlier this month.

Since the beginning of unrest in Syria in mid-March, hundreds of people, including security forces, have been killed.

The shadowy opposition accuses security forces of being behind the killings but, the government blames armed gangs for the deadly violence, stressing that the unrest is being orchestrated from abroad.

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