US accuses Syria of burning bodies to hide executions

Brandon Parsons
May 16, 2017

The Saydnaya military prison, located 45 minutes from Damascus, is killing up to 50 people a day.

Jones said Washington's information came from credible humanitarian agencies and from the USA "intelligence community" and that as many as 50 people per day are thought to be hanged at Saydnaya.

The crematorium does not dispose of all of those bodies but allows many of these killings to be committed with "little evidence", explained Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, on Monday.

The State Department released overhead photos of the facility that appear to show construction work to build the crematorium. The photographs taken over several years, beginning in 2013, do not definitely prove the building is a crematorium, but they show construction consistent with such use. One photo shows the snow melting on the area of the building where they believe the device is located.

"The Assad regime has sunk to a new level of depravity, and it has done so with seemingly unconditional support from Russian Federation and Iran", White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer told journalists at his White House press briefing. It says the crematorium is being used to hide evidence of the extent of the killings.

"Credible sources have believed that numerous bodies have been disposed in mass graves", acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones said.

Assad's regime, he alleged, has detained between 65,000 and 117,000 people over the same period - the first five years of a civil war that has left hundreds of thousands dead. The deal was brokered by Russian Federation with support from Iran and Turkey during talks in Kazakhstan's capital, Astana, last week.

Jones told reporters Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had raised concerns about Assad's brutality with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov during his visit to Washington last week.

"Russia and Iran, the government's closest allies, must press for an end to these murderous detention policies".

Indeed, State Department officials conceded that the whole reason they came up with this new statement was because Russia's Foreign Minister visited the U.S. last week, and the USA wanted to reiterate that there needs to be a regime change in Syria, despite Russian opposition.

The "continued brutality of the Assad regime" including its use of chemical weapons, represents a continued threat to regional stability and to the United States, Jones said.

But tensions between Washington and Moscow heightened after Trump ordered a cruise missile strike in April against a Syrian air base that the United States said had been used to launch a poison gas attack on civilians.

In a photo taken January 15, he said, "we're look [ing] at snowmelt on the roof that would be consistent with a crematorium".

He called on both countries to use their influence with Syria to establish a credible ceasefire, and begin political talks.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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