The Department of State is alleging that the Syrian government is mass executing thousands of prisoners and then cremating the bodies to hide all traces of evidence.
About 50 detainees are reportedly being executed a day at the Saydnaya military prison near Damascus. The State Department believes that the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad then burns most of the lifeless bodies in a crematorium, the Associated Press reports.
“We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place in Saydnaya prison,” said Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary for the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department.
The agency believes satellite photos show the prison complex was modified to fit the crematorium, although the department admitted it had no proof of the claim. Rather, the photos indicate that the modification would be consistent with the use of a crematorium.
For Jones, this new revelation is a sign that the Assad regime “has sunk to a new level of depravity.”
Amnesty International released a report in early 2017 stating that approximately 13,000 prisoners were hung from 2011 to December 2015. The report notes that 50 at a time were apparently hanged in a basement near the prison in the middle of the night. According to the report, prisoners were forced to rape other prisoners and sleep in blood.
“The cell floors are covered with blood and puss from prisoners’ wounds. The bodies of dead detainees are collected by the prison guards each morning, around 9 a.m,” the report stated.
“We would hear a huge sound,” one former detainee said. “From 10pm until 12, or from 11pm until 1am, we would hear screaming and yelling come from below us … This is a very important point. If you keep silent, you will get less beating at Saydnaya. But these people were screaming like they had lost their minds … It wasn’t a normal sound – it was not ordinary. It sounded like they were skinning them alive.”
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