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Chulov reports: "The cache of evidence smuggled out of Syria showing the 'systematic killing' of 11,000 detainees in Syrian jails may only be the tip of the iceberg, international aid agencies have said."

Detained Syrian men blindfolded and handcuffed in Qusair, near Homs. (photo: Sana/Reuters)
Detained Syrian men blindfolded and handcuffed in Qusair, near Homs. (photo: Sana/Reuters)

Systematic Killing Evidence in Syria Just Tip of Iceberg

By Martin Chulov, Guardian UK

21 January 14


International bodies say evidence of execution of 11,000 detainees in regime jails comes from just one area of Syria

he cache of evidence smuggled out of Syria showing the "systematic killing" of 11,000 detainees in Syrian jails may only be the tip of the iceberg, international aid agencies have said.

The International Committee of the Red Cross, various United Nations bodies and Human Rights Watch have repeatedly complained of having next to no access to detainees and being stonewalled by Syrian authorities despite repeated requests to visit infamous detention sites, such as Sayednaya prison in Damascus.

They said Monday's report by three eminent international lawyers that at least 11,000 victims have been killed while in detention only represents numbers in one part of the country.

"All I know after years of trying to get access is that this is likely to eventually shock the world," one senior official from an international body told the Guardian, on condition of anonymity. "What we have seen in the [war crimes lawyers'] report broadly reflects what we have pieced together over the past few years."

Syrian activists say an estimated 50,000 detainees remain unaccounted for. Tens of thousands of Syrians have been held in detention centres and released, often after months of deprivation and torture.

Most of the 55,000 images taken of the victims' bodies were shot by one official photographer. Many other photographers are attached to security units elsewhere in the country and are likely to have been asked to provide visual evidence of deaths.

Each main city in Syria has several large prisons, off limits to all but elite military and security units but known to hold large numbers of detainees.

Syria has one of the most extensive state security systems in the Middle East. Before the uprising, citizens feared the pervasive reach of more than 15 agencies, which was supplemented by the eyes and ears of the Ba'ath party, whose members were well-attuned to dissent against President Bashar al-Assad and his senior officials.

Since the first stirrings of the uprising in March 2011, security chiefs have been busier than ever. The Military Intelligence, Air Force Intelligence, and Political Security branches have been among the most active, detaining large numbers of citizens, especially in areas held by opposition fighting groups. Syrian rebels and foreign jihadists have also been detained.

International bodies in Turkey, Jordan and Lebanon, have reported they are overwhelmed by the number of families reporting the detention of their relatives. The full scale of the brutality inside Syria's prisons, they say, may never be known.

Refugees outside Syria talk frequently about missing relatives. Conversations in recent months have seemed increasingly desperate, as those who have fled Syria have ever-decreasing means of finding information about those they left behind.

"They came to take him on a night in June," said Subhi Ahmed, a refugee from Aleppo now living in Beirut of his son Mohammed Ali. "It was the Air Force Intelligence and we don't know where he is now. We have not heard a word. We went to the prison before leaving Syria and we have called many times. There is nothing."

Those who have been released from such facilities have told the Guardian and international investigators of the widespread use of summary executions. Detainees have also spoken of torture being routine behind prison walls. In a 2012 report, Amnesty International itemised 31 methods of torture that it said were regularly used on prisoners.

The most rigorous process to establish a precise number has been conducted by Razan Zeitouneh, a Syrian activist and human rights lawyer who works with the Violations Documentation Centre, an organisation that has gathered figures on Syrians in detention since the start of the uprising. Until she too disappeared late last year, Zeitouneh's group had accounted for more than 47,000 missing citizens.

Zeitouneh was seized from an opposition-held district near Damascus. Unlike the bulk of those whose cases she documented, Zeitouneh is believed to have been seized by a jihadist group. She has not been heard from since.

In Aleppo early last year, a Guardian investigation uncovered evidence of executions carried out in two regime intelligence bases in the west of the city. All of the victims had travelled from rebel-held east-Aleppo. Several of those who had been released recounted their stories One of them, Abdel Rezzaq, 19, was detained in an air force intelligence prison. "I was living in Bustan area [in the west] and I was working as a carpenter," he said. "I went downtown [in west Aleppo] to buy a falafel sandwich. The military caught me and they started beating me all over my body and they were saying that I am with the Free Syria Army. They beat me for eight days day and nights and demanded I confess. They were transferring me from one base to another air force base.

"I was arrested on the 10th of October and stayed [in prison] for about 2.5 months to 3 months.

"Before I left the prison, they took 30 people from isolation cells and killed them."

Abdel Rezzaq said he was being held in Block 4, within earshot of the solitary confinement cells and the area where he alleges the prisoners were taken, then executed. "They handcuffed them and blindfolded them and they were torturing them till they died."

"They poured acid on them. The smell was very strong and we were suffocating from it. Then we heard gunshots. The next day they put me and some of the others in front of men with guns, but they didn't shoot at us. They freed me later that day." your social media marketing partner


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+4 # RICHARDKANEpa 2014-01-21 20:21
Thank you RSN for so much coverage of the horror going on in Syria. What is left of the network news explains little.
+4 # RMDC 2014-01-21 21:29
Just bull shit reporting ahead of the meetings in Geneva. The Guardian really knows how to suck fascist dick when it is told to.

Syria has a right to defend itself from foreign terrorists. That is absolute. The Guardian seems to be unable to see the terrorists who are raising hell in Syria. I wish all these terrorists would turn their attention on the UK and let's see how the British government reacts. I'm sure there would be 100s of thousands of people systematically killed.
-2 # Puck 2014-01-22 02:07
Blotter acid right, RMDC?
+1 # Activista 2014-01-21 23:23
Syria has made a curious transition from US ally to violator of human ...‎
Feb 19, 2012 - Canadian citizen Maher Arar, who was rendered to Syria by the US and ... Or, in the chilling words of former CIA agent Robert Baer, in 2004: "the dark side" of the war on terror, Syria was one of the "most common" destinations for rendered suspects. Or, in the chilling words of former CIA agent Robert Baer, in 2004: "If you want a serious interrogation, you send a prisoner to Jordan. If you want them to be tortured, you send them to Syria."
+6 # Activista 2014-01-21 23:45
Search on the picture above -
Detained Syrian men blindfolded and handcuffed in Qusair, near Homs.

"The golden dome of Mar Elias Church (Qusair)is peppered with holes, and inside its marble altar has been broken. A tableau representing St. Elias has been partly burned, as have several icons.

Graffiti scrawled on the walls reads “The religion of Mohammad will vanquish the tyrants and renegades”

Read more:
(The Daily Star :: Lebanon News ::
one of the prisoners looks like a priest - looks like another war propaganda picture = scene created by FSA.
War on Syria is a proxy war against Iran - by Israel, USA, Saudi, Qatar who FINANCED/COMMIS SIONED the report above. The article is a lie - propaganda. Any average reader after 10 minutes search can find the truth. The same was true about Golden Cakes from Niger in Iraq war propaganda. If ANYBODY in administration believes this war propaganda - why guardian published it? Money?
+3 # RICHARDKANEpa 2014-01-22 00:54
You didn't succeed at enclosing a link for the picture

There is a picture here of violence by some opposed to the Syrian Government.

Al Qaeda slaughters on Syria's killing field,
0 # Activista 2014-01-22 15:07
You didn't succeed at enclosing a link for the picture

There is a picture here of violence by some opposed to the Syrian Government.

Al Qaeda slaughters on Syria's killing field,

yes - news UN/GB "forgot" :
Al-Qaeda slaughters on Syria's killing fields
More than 1,000 Syrians flee al-Qaeda-linked group as they mow down children and behead prisoners in cold blood...
enclosing the link to the picture: In GOOGLE Chrome right click on the picture and choose "Search Google for this image" - you will find that all sides claim that this is other side committing the war crimes ...
+8 # Activista 2014-01-22 00:18
There were referendums in Syria - and MOST of the Syrians support government in Damascus -
Most Syrians back President Assad – but you'd never know from ...‎
Jan 17, 2012 - A demonstration in support of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president, in Damascus. 'Some 55% of Syrians want Assad to stay ...
War .. War on Syria is West, Israel, Saudi proxy war against Iran. This is NOT civil war ... where is civil war? IN "liberated" Iraq.
NEOCONS model for the "new" Syria is the same as for Libya -
+2 # solorzam 2014-01-22 16:02
The USA and its allies have been waging wars with all countries in the middle east except for Israel. The USA agenda for a new world order is to invade each country in the middle east to ensure that the petrodollar keeps being the currency to buy oil, to have a strategic bases, to take over Arabian oil, and last but not least, to help Israel get rid of all their enemies. In order to accomplish this end, the USA and its allies plan to take over country by country in the middle east, such as Iraq, Afghanistan, Egypt, Livia, Syria, Iran, etc. The first four are already under control by the new order powers, either through invasion by force, or using economic hit men and/or/ jackals or contracted killers, or USA sponsored coup d'état through their proxies, CIA and NSA. Therefore, these 11,000 killed Syrians is another bunch of lies by the new order regime. First the Syrian government was charged with poisoning its civilians to death, when in reality, it was Al Qaeda, an CIA creation. Now, they are blaming the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad for killing 11,000 of its Syrian citizens! Are you kidding me ??? Does the USA government really think we are that stupid ??? Then, on top of that, you have USA war contractors which are not accountable to war crimes outside the USA territories. The real culprit is the so infamous MILITARY INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX and all of its cronies !!!!
0 # Rick Levy 2014-01-24 19:20
Tsk. The space aliens who abducted you must have forgotten to remove the probe before releasing you.

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