The United States has accused Syria of carrying out mass killings – from prisoners to civilians, the numbers are swelling. Now the United States has released satellite images proving that Syria has indeed installed a systematic death machine for a government.
President Trump’s administration has found evidence that the bodies of those killed were burned in a large crematorium attached to the Saydnaya prison complex outside the Syrian capital of Damascus. In addition, Amnesty International report released in February which claimed up to 13,000 people – mostly civilians opposed to the government – have been hanged in secret at the prison.
“Credible sources have believed that many of the bodies have been disposed in mass graves,” Stuart Jones,acting US assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs told reporters as he showed them aerial photos of the alleged building.
“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.”
The Daily Mail reports:
One of the satellite images, provided by the State Department and taken from commercial satellites in January 2015, shows the building that the US says was modified to support a crematorium.
The snow on one section of the roof is melted in the photo, showing that it was taken in the winter.
Three other photos were also released, with two – taken in August 2013 and April 2016 – showing a side-by-side comparison of the building believed to house the crematorium, before and after it was altered.
The latter of those two images shows what are believed to be air intake vents, air conditioning units and a ‘discharge stack’ that could be used to expel the smoke created by thousands of burning bodies.
Those photos do not definitely prove the building is a crematorium, but they show construction consistent with such use.
It’s not clear why the US has waited until now to release this information, but Jones told reporters: ‘I would say that this information has been developing.’
The final photograph, taken in April 2017, shows how close the alleged crematorium building is to the prison – easily just a few minutes’ walk for a condemned man, and moments for a vehicle.
Jones cited US intelligence agencies and ‘credible’ humanitarian organizations as sources for the claims about the crematorium.
He added that ‘The regime holds as many as 70 prisoners in Saydnaya in cells that have a five-person capacity.’
It’s not yet clear exactly where the prisoners are killed, but a judge who witnessed the executions told Amnesty International that they are taken in the night to another building.
There they are beaten before being hanged to death.
Some – described as ‘the young ones’ – are too light for the rope, and so officers’ assistants will pull down on their feet to break their necks.
Others are left hanging for 10-15 minutes.
Amnesty International released the shocking claims in February, along with statistics about the secret hangings, saying up to 13,000 people had been executed there.
It said the executions have happened at a rate of around 50 a day between 2011 and 2015 – the first five years of the country’s ongoing civil war.
Assad’s regime detained between 65,000 and 117,000 people over the same period, Jones said.