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EU Lawmakers Seek Help to Preserve Syria, Iraq Mass Graves

FILE - An Iraqi man prays for his slain relative at the site of a mass grave believed to contain the bodies of Iraqi soldiers killed by Islamic State group militants when they overran Camp Speicher military base, in Tikrit, Iraq.

European Union lawmakers want help to preserve 72 mass graves in Syria and Iraq documented by The Associated Press so the evidence can be used to bring Islamic State group members to trial.

Romanian Socialist lawmaker Victor Bostinaru said Tuesday that “the preservation of this evidence is today of utmost importance.”

His Austrian colleague Josef Weidenholzer said time is pressing because the grave sites are only roughly covered and exposed to dogs and the weather.

He said “the longer we wait, the less that will remain of the graves and of the evidence. It is important to make European support available.”

In the most comprehensive survey so far, AP has documented and mapped 72 mass graves. Thousands may be buried but some sites are in territory too dangerous to excavate.