A mass grave has been found in the Syrian city of Deraa, the epicenter of the recent bout of anti-government protests in the country, according to the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria, a Syrian rights group.

The rights group said it has been able to recover as many as 43 bodies. Earlier it was reported that villagers had pulled out 13 bodies from a single grave in a village near the city where scores of peoples have been reported killed since the start of protests against the government of President Bashar Al-Assad. Videos posted on YouTube showed a partly decomposed body being pulled out from a pit.

According to the rights group the armed forces on a vigil are preventing people from having access to the killing field. Syrian tanks rolled into Deraa last month after the city emerged as the rebel stronghold. We discovered 34 bodies, mostly male, scattered in the fields. Most were killed by a bullet or shrapnel during the military raid about five days ago, said Ammar Qurabi who heads the National Organization for Human Rights in Syria.

However, Assad's government rubbished the news about mass graves. Reports of a mass grave in Deraa are completely untrue, according to an Interior Ministry statement on television.