Syria Hides Executions Via Crematorium, US Claims

The Sednaya military prison outside Damacus as depicted in a recent Amnesty International report. The State Department said Monday the Assad government built a crematorium at the prison to rid itself of the bodies of the 50 or more prisoners it executes each day.

WASHINGTON (CN) – The Syrian government built a crematorium at its Sednaya military prison outside Damacus and has been using it to clandestinely dispose of the scores of prisoners it executes each day, the State Department said Monday.

According to  Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary of state for the Middle East, the government of President Bashar al-Assad executes at least 50 prisoners a day, some in mass hangings.

A recent Amnesty International report described Sednaya as a “human slaughterhouse.”

Jones said the executions show Assad’s government has reached a “new level of depravity,” “seemingly with the unconditional support of Russia and Iran.”

Addressing reporters on Monday, Jones said the Kremlin has assisted in years of mass murders and other atrocities including chemical attacks and hospital bombings on civilians and rebel forces alike.

The White House did not immediately return a request for comment.

Last week, Sergei Lavrov, Russia’s foreign minister announced during a meeting with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson that his country would need to take “great urgency” to exercise its own influence over the current regime in Syria.

The Amnesty International report says that during a four-year period, from March 2011 to December 2015, the Syrian government “quietly slaughtered between 5,000 and 13,000 prisoners at Saydnaya, dumping their bodies in mass graves.


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