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.