by CAROLINE GAVURA Section Editor
A report created by three war crime prosecutors claiming that the Syrian government killed 11,000 prisoners in jails between March 2011 and August 2013 has been confirmed by a Syrian military photographer.
The photographer, who was called “Caesar” in the report, claims he did not witness the torture or killing of any of the detainees. He did, however, describe the bodies of young men who had been emaciated, blood-stained, strangled, and electrocuted.
One of the prosecutors claimed there were mass killings, reminiscent of World War II concentration camps such as Auschwitz and Bergen-Belsen.
The report says Caesar photographed at least 50 bodies a day in order to create a death certificate without the family of the person seeing their body. The families were usually told their loved one suffered breathing problems or a heart attack.
“It is terrible the Syrian government lied to all of these families and carried out systematic killings of 11,000 people. It reminds me of the Holocaust and it is scary,” said junior Christa Tomasulo.
The report was put together by a London-based law firm that financed Syrian rebels and often called for Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to stand trial for war crimes.
Assad, who is now supported by Iran and Russia, denied war crimes and said he was stopping “terrorists” who are trying to use Syria to create chaos across the Middle East.
Yet, contrary to Assad’s statement, the 55,000 photographs Caesar took before fleeing the country show mutilated corpses, some even without eyes.
If these photos are valid evidence, it would not only prove the Syrian government is committing war crimes, but also crimes against humanity.
“The report is further evidence of the systematic violence and brutality being visited upon by the people of Syria by the Assad regime. We will continue to press for action on all human rights violations in Syria, and for accountability for those who perpetrate them,” said British Foreign Secretary William Hague.
A prominent human rights group, Human Rights Watch located in New York, accused the U.S. of making minimal effort to bring Assad to the International Criminal Court.
The group claimed the U.S. focused too much on getting warring parties together for peace talks rather than putting pressure on Assad’s regime to end the violence it was causing against its own people.
The group also criticized Russia and China for blocking their ally Syria from action at the United Nations by banning trade with them for weapons.
“I feel so bad for the people of Syria. Their own government is attacking them and even their allies have stopped trying to help them. The fact that 11,000 people have been killed under Assad’s regime is atrocious, but also terrifying,” said senior Kylie Scannella.
Human Rights Watch leader, Kenneth Roth, hopes the report pushes Secretary of State, John Kerry, to call for an immediate end to the cruel acts the Assad regime is committing.
“So far Kerry’s only answer to the atrocities has been: ‘Oh were trying to build peace; when we have peace the atrocities are going to stop.’ But that’s not an adequate answer when peace is going to be a long time coming and people are being killed every single day,” said Roth.
Should the U.S. get involved? Or should they continue trying to create peace?