The United States has evidence Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's government has built a crematorium at a large military prison outside the capital Damascus, a State Department official said today.
Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, said US officials believe the crematorium could be used to dispose of bodies at a prison where they believe Assad's government authorised the mass hangings of thousands of inmates during Syria's six-year-old civil war.
"Credible sources have believed that many of the bodies have been disposed in mass graves," Jones told reporters. During the briefing, he showed aerial images of what he said was a crematorium.
We now believe that the Syrian regime has installed a crematorium in the Sednaya prison complex which could dispose of detainees' remains with little evidence.
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.
"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.
He did not say what measures the United States might take if Russia does not change its stance.
Jones said he had not yet presented the evidence to Russian officials.