US accuses Assad of mass atrocities at Syrian prison
16 May 2017 - 13:12
WASHINGTON: The U.S. on Monday accused Syrian regime's Bashar al-Assad of committing mass atrocities at an infamous military prison outside of Damascus city.
Speaking to reporters at the State Department, the acting head of Middle Eastern affairs said Assad's forces allegedly hanged thousands of people at the Saydnaya Prison, including up to 50 detainees per day.
Stuart Jones said a crematorium had been installed at the prison to dispose of the victims' corpses.
"We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place at Saydnaya Prison," he said. "If you have that level of production of mass murder then using the crematorium would allow the regime to manage that number of corpses coming out of the prison complex."
Victims' bodies have also been disposed of in mass graves, according to Stuart.
The State Department handed out to reporters what it said is newly declassified photo evidence from 2013 and 2017 to support its claim of the building being repurposed into a crematorium.
The disclosures come one week after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov met President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.
Asked why the U.S. is just now releasing the evidence, Jones said now is an "opportune time to remind people about the atrocities being carried out within Syria all the time".
"This is one discreet additive piece of evidence," he said.