Report Details ‘Industrial’ Killing of 11,000 in Assad Jails
Damascus- A Syrian military police photographer has supplied “clear evidence” showing the systematic torture and killing of about 11,000 detainees in circumstances that evoked Nazi death camps, former war crimes prosecutors said. Syrian officials could face war crimes charges as a result of the evidence provided by the photographer, who has defected, the three prosecutors said.
One of the prosecutors said the evidence documented “industrial scale killing” that was reminiscent of the World War II concentration camps of Belsen and Auschwitz. The trove of harrowing photographs ratchets up the pressure on Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who the United States and its Western allies say has committed war crimes against his own people during the civil war.
Assad, once courted by Western leaders and now supported by Russia and Iran, has denied war crimes, saying he is fighting “terrorists” who want to use Syria to sow chaos across the Middle East. But 55,000 images provided by the photographer, who fled Syria after passing the pictures to Assad’s opponents, show emaciated and mutilated corpses.
Bearing signs of torture, some of the corpses had no eyes. Others showed signs of strangulation or electrocution. “There is clear evidence, capable of being believed by a tribunal of fact in a court of law, of systematic torture and killing of detained persons by the agents of the Syrian government,” the three prosecutors said in the 31-page report.
“Such evidence would support findings of crimes against humanity against the current Syrian regime. Such evidence could also support findings of war crimes against the current Syrian regime,” they said. The report was published as opposing sides in Syria’s civil war gathered for internationally sponsored peace talks in Switzerland. (Reuters)