(CNN) - Multiple bodies - possibly as many as 20 by one account - were found early Monday in a shallow unmarked grave near the Syrian city of Daraa, a center of unrest amid a nationwide wave of anti-government rage.
A local farmer told CNN that another farmer was heading toward his grove of olive trees on the outskirts of Daraa when he smelled the stench of bodies. The farmer searched the field and found a human hand protruding from the earth.
The farmer sought help from local residents and, working with a backhoe, the group unearthed seven bodies, five recognized as being from one family. Among the bodies were those of a young child and woman, the farmer said.
Within an hour of the discovery, the farmer said, Syrian army and security forces took control of the site, confiscating cell phones of witnesses.
Using the backhoe, the security forces continued digging and removing corpses, witnesses said.
"One of the diggers later told the community that around 20 bodies had been found at the site," Abdullah Abazeed, a prominent leader of the uprising in Daraa, told CNN.
CNN has not been granted access into Syria and is unable to independently verify witness accounts or indepenently confirm the body count.FULL STORY
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