Inside Syria's Secret Torture Prisons: How Bashar al-Assad Crushed Dissent

(New York Times) Anne Barnard - As Syria's president, Bashar al-Assad, closes in on victory over an eight-year revolt, a secret, industrial-scale system of arbitrary arrests and torture prisons has been pivotal to his success. The Syrian government waged a ruthless war on civilians, throwing hundreds of thousands into filthy dungeons where thousands were tortured and killed. Nearly 128,000 have never emerged, and are presumed to be either dead or still in custody, according to the Syrian Network for Human Rights. Nearly 14,000 were "killed under torture." Now, as the war winds down and countries start to normalize relations with Syria, the pace of new arrests, torture and execution is increasing. Last year the Syrian Network recorded 5,607 new arrests that it classifies as arbitrary - more than 100 per week. Hundreds are being sent to an execution site, Saydnaya Prison, and newly released prisoners report that killings there are accelerating. Newly discovered government memos show that Syrian officials who report directly to Assad ordered mass detentions and knew of atrocities.

2019-05-13 00:00:00

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