President Bashar al-Assad’s interview with Yahoo News recently dismissed the findings of Amnesty International’s recent reporton mass hangings and extermination at Saydnaya military prison in Syria. The report found that between 5,000 and 13,000 people were secretly executed at the prison, with prisoners being rounded up in groups as large as 50, given sham “trials” that last under a minute, blindfolded, and hanged. The horrific treatment of prisoners in Syria is part of the reason so many have fled the country in the largest refugee crisis in generations.
The organization’s Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said:
“In his interview President Bashar al-Assad repeatedly attempts to discredit Amnesty International’s findings. However, he admits he has not visited Saydnaya military prison and provides not a shred of information about the ‘true’ situation there.
“He acknowledges that executions take place in Syria, but fails to give any details whatsoever about the number carried out in Saydnaya or anywhere else in the country.
“If he has nothing to hide he must immediately grant access for international monitors to Saydnaya and all other places of detention in Syria. He must also reveal the truth about the number of executions taking place. Russia, which has also publicly dismissed the findings of the report should use its influence with the Syrian authorities to make this happen.”