DOZENS of headless bodies believed to be victims of ISIS executions have been discovered in a mass grave in eastern Syria.
The decapitated corpses – many of whom are women – were found in territory recently seized by US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) as they close in on jihadi fighters.
Graphic footage posted online shows beheaded corpses, understood to be Yazidi slaves, and human remains scattered across the floor.
The mass grave was found around a week ago in the besieged village of Baghouz near the Iraqi border and is still being excavated, SDF commander Adnan Afrin told Reuters.
The SDF is now examining the bodies to confirm their identities.
Afrin added: “They were slaughtered.”
Thousands of members of the minority Yazidi sect from Iraq were forced into sexual slavery by ISIS when they surged across the border in 2014 and seized swathes of territory.
More than 3,000 other Yazidis were killed in an onslaught the United Nations later described as genocidal, which prompted the first US air strikes against ISIS.
Thousands more fled on foot and many remain displaced more than four years later.
But Jihadi forces in the are now on the brink of defeat as the SDF finish off the group.
Commander-in-chief Mazloum Kobani: “We will announce the complete victory over Daesh (ISIS) in a week.”
The operation has been held up as the SDF seeks to evacuate thousands of civilians.
The Syrian forces announced on Thursday it had freed 24 of its fighters from the jihadist group.
An ISIS enclave in a tiny area on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River is the last populated territory held by the terror group.
They have been steadily driven back by an array of enemies, losing swathes of land they once held.
Though the fall of Baghouz will mark a milestone in the campaign against IS, using guerrilla tactics and still holding some territory in a remote area west of the Euphrates River.
Some 40,000 people have crossed from the jihadists’ diminishing territory in the last three months.
The numbers of people, who are still pouring out of Baghouz, have surpassed initial estimates.
Afrin said many of the people coming out of Baghouz had been underground in caves and tunnels.
The SDF has said it wants to evacuate civilians inside Baghouz before storming it or forcing the surrender of the remaining jihadists.
The US-led coalition said Baghouz had been “more crowded with both civilians and fighters than expected”
Coalition spokesman Colonel Sean Ryan said: “The overflow during the lull in battle has been difficult for the SDF and they have responded to everything well.”
Afrin added the 24 fighters who were announced freed on Thursday were mostly captured by ISIS during the Deir al-Zor campaign and were rescued by its special forces based on intelligence.
The SDF has said several hundred jihadists are believed to be holed up in Baghouz, a cluster of hamlets surrounded by farmland on the eastern bank of the Euphrates River.