State Department official alleges that as many as 50 people are hanged to death by Syrian government every day
The Syrian regime has installed a crematorium in a military prison in order to destroy the remains of thousands of murdered prisoners, the United States alleged on Monday.
Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary for the State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, gave reporters satellite pictures apparently showing snow melting on the roof of the facility. “Beginning in 2013, the Syrian regime modified a building within the Saydnaya complex to support what we believe is a crematorium,” he said, referring to a military jail north of Damascus. “Although the regime’s many atrocities are well documented, we believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of the mass murders taking place in Saydnaya.”
Jones said Washington’s information came from credible humanitarian agencies and from the U.S. “intelligence community” and that as many as 50 people per day are thought to be hanged at Saydnaya. He did not give an official estimate for the total number killed, but cited an Amnesty International report that between 5,000 and 11,000 had died between 2011 and 2015 in the prison.
President Bashar al-Assad’s Syrian regime, he alleged, had detained between 65,000 and 117,000 people over the same period.
The latest satellite photograph presented by Jones dated to January 2015, more than two years ago, and it was not immediately clear why the United States waited to present its evidence.