US State Department Says It ‘Believes’ A Syrian Prison May Be Cremating Bodies of Executed Prisoners

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The US State Department accused Syrian President Assad of using a crematorium outside of the capital Damascus to dispose of the bodies of thousands of executed prisoners. The evidence presented is a satellite image of a building that looks like a crematorium. The State Department cites an Amnesty International report from February that says an average of 20 to 50 people were hanged each week at the Sednaya military prison north of Damascus. [See Consortium News article next to this one about possible bias at Amnesty International.] –GEG

The United States has evidence Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government has built a crematorium at a large military prison outside the capital Damascus, a State Department official said on Monday.

Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, said U.S. officials believe the crematorium could be used to dispose of bodies at a prison where they believe Assad’s government authorized the mass hangings of thousands of inmates during Syria’s six-year-old civil war.

“Credible sources have believed that many of the bodies have been disposed in mass graves,” Jones told reporters. During the briefing, he showed aerial images of what he said was a crematorium.

“We now believe that the Syrian regime has installed a crematorium in the Sednaya prison complex which could dispose of detainees’ remains with little evidence.”

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