Advertisement

U.S. officials: Syria prison executing at least 50 inmates a day

The department said Syria's actions have been carried out with "unconditional" support from allies Russia and Iran.

By Doug G. Ware
U.S. officials: Syria prison executing at least 50 inmates a day
The U.S. State Department on Monday said the Sednaya military prison in Damascus executes at least 50 inmates every day and incinerates their remains in a crematorium. File Photo by Sana/EPA

May 15 (UPI) -- The Syrian regime of President Bashar al-Assad is executing dozens of prisoners per day and wiping out their remains inside a new crematorium, the U.S. Department of State said Monday.

Assistant Secretary of State for the Middle East Stuart Jones said a crematorium at the Sednaya military prison is destroying the corpses at a rapid rate. Jones said at least 50 inmates at the Damascus facility are being killed daily.

Advertisement

Jones showed photos of the crematorium during Monday's news briefing.

"The continued brutality of the Assad regime, including the use of chemical weapons, presents a clear threat to regional stability as well as the national security interests of the United States," he said. "The Assad regime's actions include well-documented airstrikes, chemical weapons attacks, arbitrary arrests, extrajudicial killings, starvation, sexual violence and denial of essential services."

RELATED Palestinian official demands apology from Israel over 1948 'catastrophe'

The U.S. government has long accused Assad of a large list of human rights abuses, including multiple chemical attacks -- the most recent of which killed nearly 100 civilians and children in March, and drew a retaliatory missile strike from the United States.

Advertisement

Jones' remarks came three months after a report by Amnesty International in February that outlined various abuses by the Syrian government at Sednaya and called the prison a "human slaughterhouse."

RELATED Donald Trump, Turkey's Recep Tayyip Erdogan face crisis in first meeting

"These practices, which amount to war crimes and crimes against humanity, are authorized at the highest levels of the Syrian government," Amnesty International said in issuing the report.

Assad, though, has repeatedly denied human rights accusations as well as the use of chemical weapons.

Monday, Jones said Syria's actions have been carried out with "unconditional" support from allies Russia and Iran.

RELATED U.S.-Russian relations: At least do no more harm

"The horrors depicted in this report reveal a hidden, monstrous campaign ... aimed at crushing any form of dissent within the Syrian population," Amnesty International Deputy Research Director Lynn Maalouf said. "Russia and Iran, the government's closest allies, must press for an end to these murderous detention policies."

The State Department said the information about the mass cremations came from human rights watchdogs and non-government intelligence sources.

Latest Headlines

Advertisement
Advertisement

Follow Us

Advertisement