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”.
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”.
“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.