Syria’s brutal dictator Bashar al-Assad has built a crematorium at a large prison outside Damascus, the U.S. State Department contends based on solid evidence.
“Credible sources have believed that many of the bodies have been disposed in mass graves,” [Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs] told reporters. During the briefing, he showed aerial images of what he said was a crematorium.
The purpose of the crematorium is to dispose of bodies, leaving little evidence. This would make Sednaya prison fit the definition of a death camp.
Amnesty International reported in February that an average of 20 to 50 people were hanged each week at the Sednaya military prison north of Damascus. Between 5,000 and 13,000 people were executed at Sednaya in the four years since a popular uprising descended into war, it said.
As Assad continued attacks on his own civilians, Russia stood by and cheered its ally.
“These atrocities have been carried out seemingly with the unconditional support from Russia and Iran,” Jones said. “The (Assad) regime must stop all attacks on civilian and opposition forces. And Russia must bear responsibility to ensure regime compliance.”
Syrian rebels have long accused Assad of building a death camp complete with crematoriums, but received little attention in the Obama administration.
— Asaad Hanna (@AsaadHannaa) May 15, 2017
President Trump has proven himself to be much more proactive against the Syrian regime’s atrocities, but soft on Russia. Trump’s Tomahawk strike was made after the Russians received specific warnings to avoid potential casualties. The Russians almost certainly alerted the Syrians before the missiles struck.
It’s totally naïve to believe that the Russians, when presented with evidence from the State Department, (a) didn’t know this was going on, and (b) would do anything about it. Past deals to “de-escalate” and broker a ceasefire have failed, and Russia has shown itself to be all-in on Assad’s side.
If the Trump administration wants to stop the death camps, it’s going to fall to America to do it.