Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad has denounced as “fake news” a report by human rights watchdog Amnesty International highlighting depraved atrocities his regime allegedly authorized, including “mass hangings” and torture of prisoners.
— Sara Hussein (@sarahussein) February 10, 2017
However, Amnesty International is not the only organization that has decried Assad for human rights violations and war crimes.
Since the civil war started in Syria, governments, the United Nations, NGOs, and the media have condemned Assad’s record on freedom and human rights.
The recently issued Amnesty International report — rebuked by Assad as “fake news” in an exclusive interview with Yahoo News — highlights “the Syrian government’s calculated campaign of extrajudicial executions by mass hangings at Saydnaya Prison.”
According to the report, “Between 2011 and 2015, every week and often twice a week, groups of up to 50 people were taken out of their prison cells and hanged to death. In five years, as many as 13,000 people, most of them civilians believed to be opposed to the government, were hanged in secret at Saydnaya.”
Titled “Human Slaughterhouse: Mass Hangings and Extermination at Saydnaya Prison,” the report notes that Assad has been “deliberately inflicting inhuman conditions on detainees at Saydnaya Prison through repeated torture and the systematic deprivation of food, water, medicine and medical care.”
“The report documents how these extermination policies have killed massive numbers of detainees,” it adds.
Amnesty International accuses the Assad regime of extrajudicial executions and “sadistic” torture and inhuman treatment at the Saydnaya Prison.
In total, more than 30,000 have died in prisons across Syria as a result of the inhumane conditions and torture since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, reports the human rights watchdog group.
The report describes the Syrian government practices inside its prisons as war crimes and crimes against a humanity authorized at the highest level of the Assad regime.
Human rights violations and war crimes by the Assad regime have been a recurring theme in the Syrian civil war.
In October 2016, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein referred to the siege and bombing of Aleppo by Russia and Iran-backed Syrian forces as “crimes of historic proportions” and described the besieged city as a “slaughterhouse.”
The U.N. human rights chief urged the International Criminal Court to prosecute the Syrian government.
In the city of Aleppo alone, the Syrian government reportedly committed various human rights violations, including civilian casualties, interference with the delivery of humanitarian aid, and interference with efforts to evacuate civilians from the city.
Aleppo had been at the epicenter of the Syrian conflict until it fell into the hands of the Assad regime late last year,
The Syrian Network for Human Rights (SNHR) has documented thousands of arbitrary arrests cases in the course of the ongoing war in Syria, including 11,953 in 2015 and 10,047 last year.
“SNHR possesses lists of more than 117,000 detainees, including children and women, [and] it should be noted that we estimate that the actual number of detainees [has] exceeded 215,000; 99% of them are being detained mainly by Syrian regime forces,” notes the human rights group.
Moreover, the Assad regime has used chemical weapons against its enemies and civilians in violation of international law and U.N. resolutions.
In November 2016, activists accused Assad of dropping chlorine-filled barrel bombs in a district in Aleppo, reported Sky News.
The U.K.-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, which uses a network of ground sources to monitor the Syrian conflict, has also documented abuses by the Syrian government throughout the ongoing civil war.
In July 2015, the Observatory reported “more than 1,000 children” had been killed “in airstrikes carried out by the Syrian government in the ongoing civil war,” adding that the “4,879 civilians in total” had “died in aerial bombardments by [regime] warplanes and helicopters.”
Various human rights organizations and press freedom groups have also documented the Assad regime’s execution of many journalists throughout the war. Syria is considered one of the top most dangerous countries for media personnel.
Last year alone, SNHR reported that the Syrian regime killed 41 “media activists who died due to torture.”