On Monday, a top official at the United States Department of State announced that the U.S. believes the Syrian regime has “authorized the extrajudicial killings of thousands of detainees using mass hangings at the Saydnaya military prison” outside Damascus. Further, the U.S. believes the Assad government has built a crematorium to dispose of the bodies and eliminate all evidence that the prisoners were ever there.
If this gruesome report is confirmed, echoes of the Holocaust in the Syrian crisis can no longer be denied. We at Jewish World Watch are outraged and demand that the U.S. Government work to end these atrocities.
Allegations of mass killings in the Saydnaya prison are not new. Earlier this year, Amnesty International released a report stating that 50 people per day were being taken from their cells at the Saydnaya prison and hanged to death. The report stated that as many as 13,000 people, most thought to be civilians, had been hanged at the prison and buried in mass graves. But now, the State Department released previously classified information about evidence that may indicate the regime has built a crematorium to incinerate bodies, allowing for an acceleration of the killings.
Multiple sources have corroborated claims of mass executions at the prison, but the State Department’s new allegations of a crematorium are being drawn from satellite imagery. The photographs may not be definitive evidence that a crematorium exists, however they show construction of a structure that could support a crematorium. The U.S. is calling upon Russia, which has been aiding Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, to “now with great urgency exercise its influence over the Syrian regime to guarantee that horrific violations stop now.” But that is not enough.
The Syrian people are being targeted by their own government and that must end! Demand action by our government today. Urge your member of Congress to co-sponsor H.R. 1677, the Caesar Syria Civilian Protection Act of 2017. This bill seeks to end the horrific violence plaguing Syria and hold perpetrators accountable.