Zakharova: Thousands of Corpses from US-Led Airstrikes Found under Raqqa Rubble

MOSCOW- The bodies of over 8,000 Syrians killed in bombing raids by the US-led coalition have been found in mass graves in Syria’s Raqqa after the rubble was partially cleared away, Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Thursday, according to Itar Tass.

"Last week, the Syrian government, in its letters addressed to the UN secretary general and the UN Security Council president, provided the tragic statistics on the victims of the coalition’s bombing raids in the city of Raqqa which allegedly targeted ISIL (former name of the Islamic State terror group, outlawed in Russia - TASS)," she noted. "The bodies of over 4,000 people were found while clearing away the rubble in two of the city’s residential neighborhoods left over from the airstrikes and also around the stadium and the zoo. Those were mainly women, the elderly and children. In addition, a mass grave where more than 2,500 people were buried was uncovered at a farm near a pediatric clinic and the National Hospital, while another burial site was opened near Al-Panorama where 1,500 bombing raids’ victims were buried," Tass said.

 "The letters stressed that to date just two percent of the rubble had been cleared away in Raqqa, which had been literally razed to the ground," Zakharova emphasized.

According to the diplomat, the statistics turned out to be in stark contrast with "the hysterical reaction expressed by the US and other Western countries with respect to protecting Syrians’ rights," and "the information provided in recent reports by various Western NGOs on the situation in Raqqa."

Too early to speak about end of work on demilitarized zone in Idlib, says diplomat

Zakhariva also said that Work to create a demilitarized zone in Syria’s Idlib Governorate continues, and it is too early to speak about its end.

 "The implementation of the Russian-Turkish memorandum of September 17 on stabilization in the Idlib de-escalation zone continues. Despite practical success in forming a demilitarized line along the borders of this zone stipulated by the memorandum, it is too early to speak about the end of the necessary work," she said.

 According to the Russian-Turkish memorandum that was signed in Sochi on September 17, there were plans to create a demilitarized zone of 15-20 km in Idlib by October 15. However, Turkey asked for additional time and to postpone joint patrolling in Idlib due to inability to guarantee security for its part, according to Tass.