A new report claims that up to 13,000 people were executed at one military prison in Syria during the five years of civil war. The killings were allegedly carried out with full consent from the highest levels of government.
The report from Amnesty International outlines the horrific scale of the executions at Saydnaya Military Prison, located 30 kilometres north of Damascus, revealing that prisoners were secretly hanged in the middle of the night, before their bodies were dumped in mass graves on the outskirts of Syrian capital.
Amnesty estimates that between 5,000 and 13,000 people were hanged between September 2011 and December 2015, adding that thousands more have been killed after being repeatedly tortured and "systematically deprived of food, water, medicine and medical care." The charity says this policy amounts to an extermination, as defined by the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court.
One detainee held at Saydnaya described the torture he was subjected to: "The beating was so intense. It was as if you had a nail, and you were trying again and again to beat it into a rock. It was impossible, but they just kept going. I was wishing they would just cut off my legs instead of beating them any more."
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