Video shows Assad forces burning bodies of Syrian dissidents who died under torture

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Video evidence of a mass crematorium that burned around 100 bodies of dissidents a day was found in Syria’s Daraa has been uncovered.

A mass crematorium used by Syrian regime forces to dispose of the bodies of dissidents – believed to have been tortured to death – has been uncovered.

Videos released by The New Arab’s sister site Zaman Al-Wasl on Wednesday show regime forces burning the remains of detainees in ​​Daraa province – a hotspot of the anti-Assad revolt – with around a hundred bodies disposed of each day.

The victims had died under torture in detention between 2011 and 2013, according to the website, with the operation to dispose of the bodies organized by regime militias, the army, and military intelligence.

The remains of the detainees were loaded onto trucks and covered with tree branches as they were transported to a secluded semi-desert site, near the town of Al-Masmiyam, before being thrown into pits, dowsed in petrol, and set alight. 

One of the clips shows regime troops unloading the bodies from a truck one by one, trampling on the remains, kicking them into a pit, before setting them alight. As the bodies pile up in the ditch, the regime soldiers insult the dead.

The videos also appear to show proof of the Syrian army providing logistical support to intelligence services – responsible for the vast majority of detainees’ torture and deaths – in their efforts to eradicate any signs of the dissidents.

It also indicated there is an organised and recurring process of disposing of the bodies of detainees who have died under torture, the number believed to be in the tens of thousands.

A source told Zaman Al-Wasl that 100 bodies were burned daily, including civilians who were arrested during raids on homes and protests.

They were held, tortured, and killed at security branches across Syria, including a secret prison at Damascus International Airport. Among the bodies were women and children.

“The brutality of the Syrian regime has reached unprecedented levels due to the international community’s ignoring the activation of accountability mechanisms and its insistence on recognising the regime’s legitimacy despite all the atrocities it commits,” said Anas Jerjawi, director of operations at the Euro-Mediterranean Monitor.

In July 2017, the US administration publicly accused the Assad regime of setting up a crematorium at the notorious Sednaya Prison to dispose of the bodies of detainees.

The foreign ministry dismissed it as a “Hollywood fantasy”, although independent NGOs and media have corroborated these reports.

They say a vast network of torture centers are operated by the Syrian regime and have been used to murder tens of thousands of detainees.

The Syrian conflict began in 2011 after the regime – led by dictator Bashar Al-Assad – brutally repressed peaceful pro-democracy protests. His father and predecessor, Hafez Al-Assad ruled Syria with an iron fist from 1971 until he died in 2000.

Around 1.2 million Syrians, or one in 18 of the population, are thought to have been arrested or detained at some point in the war. The Assad regime is notorious for its systematic torture and murder of prisoners, as well as the shelling and bombing of civilian areas and hospitals. 

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