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Syrians built crematorium at prison to dispose of bodies, Syria denies accusations

19 May 2017, 11:30 | Anna Nguyen

Syrians built crematorium at prison to dispose of bodies, Syria denies accusations

Syria accused of burning bodies of victims

The allegation of mass killings came as United States President Donald Trump weighs options in Syria, where the USA launched cruise missiles on a government air base last month after accusing Assad's military of killing scores of civilians with a sarin-like nerve agent.

Stuart Jones, the U.S. State Department's assistant secretary for the Middle East, said Monday a crematorium at the Sednaya military prison in Damascus is destroying corpses at a rapid rate.

About 400,000 people have been killed in the fighting. Jones, who attended the talks as an observer, said "we have reason to be skeptical" of the plan given past failures.

Monday's disclosures amount to a very public rebuke of Russian Federation, which surely must know of the mass atrocities being committed by its client state just as it knew about the existence of chemical weapons.

The accusations are based on newly declassified aerial photos of the Saydnaya prison complex that show the construction of the crematorium in 2013. US allegations of a crematorium are "a new Hollywood story" that is "fundamentally untrue", the source said, accusing USA intelligence of having fabricated other claims against Syria in the past.

"Our statement is that we want Assad to fall and the replacement of the Alawite (regime) with moderate Sunni rule", Gallant said.

"Although the regime's many atrocities are well-documented", Jones continued, "we believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place in Saydnaya prison".

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More so, the State Department said some 50 detainees a day are being hanged at Saydnaya military prison. Jones gave reporters satellite pictures apparently showing snow melting on the roof of the facility.

The Sednaya military prison outside Damacus as depicted in a recent Amnesty International report.

He alleged that the Syrian government had detained between 65,000 and 117,000 people over the same four-year period.

"The idea of a crematorium of course has awful connotations for those with a memory", Anthony Billingsley, a Mideast lecturer at the University of New South Wales, told VOA. Amnesty's research led them to deem the prison a "human slaughterhouse" where crimes against humanity occur regularly.

The Syrian Foreign Ministry issued an official statement, which says that the prison crematorium was nothing more but a "game of imagination of the U.S. administration". The latest photo was from January 2015.

Meslet, in Geneva for the United Nations -mediated talks, told Saudi-owned TV station al-Hadath that the government was known to move prisoners around from site to site for interrogations and, in some instances, executions.



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