Mass grave with 25 bodies found near Damascus: state media

DAMASCUS, Sept. 20 (Xinhua) — Syrian troops Friday uncovered a mass grave with 25 dead bodies in a restive part of suburban Damascus, the state-run SANA news agency said.
The grave was dug out at al-Qadam, which has recently been a hotbed of armed confrontation between the government troops and the armed rebels.
SANA said the residents of al-Qadam had tipped the Syrian troops about the grave, adding that the bodies had been found handcuffed and eye-folded. It said “armed terrorist groups” committed the massacre.
The clashes in Syria have spread to several hotspots nationwide but mainly taking place in the northern city of Aleppo and at a cluster of southern suburbs of Damascus, such as Hajar al-Aswad, Tadamun and al-Yarmouk camp for the Palestinian refugees, where the Syrian authorities said they have rounded up more than 100 “terrorists” on Thursday.
Meanwhile, the Local Coordination Committees (LCC), a group of activists documenting the crisis’ events, said Friday that as many as 71 people had been killed in the northeastern province of al-Raqqa, alleging that the aerial bombardment by government troops on a fuel station there caused the high toll.
The LCC placed the entire death toll of Thursday’ s violence at 250. However, such claims are impossible of being checked or verified independently.
The 18-month-old crisis in Syria is raging on with no sign of abating as the clashes and urban fights between the government troops and the armed rebels are on the rise.
Another factor has recently emerged to draw a bleaker picture, with the presence of jihadists and extremists, who have been sneaking into Syria from neighboring countries to wage jihad against the Syrian government.
The United Nations Independent International Commission of Inquiry on Syria has confirmed the increasing presence of foreign elements, including jihadist militants in Syria.
UN investigators say some have joined rebel groups, while others are operating independently. Paulo Pinheiro, an expert leading the UN’s team of human rights investigators, says some recent bomb attacks may have been carried out by some such groups.
The Syrian government has from the beginning blamed the unrest on armed extremists acting out a foreign plot but not true reform seekers.

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