Syria denies building crematory for political prisoners

Posted May 22, 2017

Numerous bodies are then burned in the crematorium "to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place", said Stuart Jones, the top United States diplomat for the Middle East.

An Israeli minister says Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is to blame for the sufferings of the Arab state and should be assassinated, a day after the U.S. leveled fresh allegations against the Damascus government.

A foreign ministry statement published by state news agency SANA said the US administration had come out with "a new Hollywood story detached from reality" by alleging the crematorium had been built at Sednaya military prison near Damascus. More so, the State Department said some 50 detainees a day are being hanged at Saydnaya military prison. "That ceasefire, we believe, will reduce violence and also ensure unhindered humanitarian access and stop the indiscriminate killings of civilians", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert when introducing the satellite photos of the prison facility and alleged crematorium.

"Beginning in 2013, the Syrian regime modified a building within the Saydnaya complex to support what we believe is a crematorium", Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary for the State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs said.

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"Russia has aided in or passively looked away as the regime has conducted" a range of atrocities, Jones said.

The meetings were the sixth round of the talks brokered by U.N. Special Envoy Staffan de Mistura.

"Yesterday the U.S. administration pulled out a new Hollywood screenplay disconnected from reality, accusing the Syrian government of having, according to the administration, built a crematorium at the Saydnaya prison".

Jones said Assad's government had carried out air strikes, chemical attacks, extrajudicial killings, starvation, and other measures to target civilians and its opponents.

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Western monitors and watchdog groups say they have accumulated evidence of mass killings in Syrian government prisons, though there have not been any substantiated allegations so far of the use of a crematorium.

One newly-released image, a commercial satellite photograph dating back to January 2015, shows snow melting on the roof of a building attached to the Saydnaya military complex.

The Syrian regime dismissed the accounts included in Amnesty International's report as "not based on correct evidence but on personal emotions that aim to achieve well-known political goals".

The head of the Syrian opposition delegation at talks in Geneva welcomed the United States accusations, but complained they had come too late.

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