Sign to Mosul, Iraq's second city, where a mass grave of Christians has been found (Flickr/CC/Jeffrey Beall)
Sign to Mosul, Iraq’s second city, where a mass grave of Christians has been found (Flickr/CC/Jeffrey Beall)

A mass grave holding the remains of 40 Christians has been found in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, reports Iraqi News.

Iraq’s second city was held by the Islamic State group for three years until its liberation by government forces in 2017. After capturing the city in 2014, IS warned Christians to “leave or face execution”.

The grave, in the west of the city, was found by security forces. According to the Syriac Orthodox Church, it contained the remains of “Christians who were kidnapped from the region… Some of them were women and children. They had small Christian crosses with them”.

Syrian Christian graves looted

Meanwhile, in Syria, desecrated Christian graves and family tombs have been found in Harasta, a town just outside the capital Damascus, reports The New Arab, which has published a series of graphic pictures showing decomposed corpses in opened coffins.

According to church and municipal officials, the graves were looted during the town’s occupation by Syrian government forces. Coffins were found opened and devoid of the valuable items customarily buried alongside Syrian Christian families, The New Arab said.

“The regime dug up more than 300 Christian graves and inflicted serious damage to the tombs and corpses lying inside as they searched for precious stones and jewellery,” said the head of the town’s council, Husam al-Beiruni. He added that Christians had lived in Harasta “for more than 100 years before the violence that forced them to flee”.