Crematorium for refugees in Syria: Fruit of sick imagination

It is believed Assad's regime kidnapped more than 100,000 people during that time.

Stuart Jones, acting USA assistant secretary of state for Near Eastern Affairs, said on Monday that U.S. officials believe the crematorium could be used to dispose of bodies at a prison where they believe Bashar al Assad's regime authorised the hanging of thousands of inmates during Syria's civil war, now in its seventh year. "Although the regime's many atrocities are well documented, we believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of the mass murders taking place in Saydnaya", he continued. The photos showed a site outside of Damascus that appeared to be used as a crematorium, not unlike the ones German Chancellor Adolf Hitler used.

Amnesty International reported in February that an average of 20 to 50 people were hanged each week at the Sednaya military prison north of Damascus.

More than 400,000 people have been killed since the Syrian civil war began in 2011, according to an estimate released past year by Staffan de Mistura, the United Nations and Arab League envoy to Syria.

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The Syrian Foreign Ministry dismissed these allegations as "lies" and "fabrications" and accused the USA of seeking a pretext for military aggression. Jones said: "I would say that this information has been developing".

Also on Tuesday, President Donald Trump met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan at the White House for talks on the conflict, refugee crisis and the fight against the Islamic State group.

The Amnesty International report says that during a four-year period, from March 2011 to December 2015, the Syrian government "quietly slaughtered between 5,000 and 13,000 prisoners at Saydnaya, dumping their bodies in mass graves". "When he's ready to act, he will let everyone know", he said. Assad has also recently called the Geneva process "null", telling Belarus's ONT channel that it had become "merely a meeting for the media". The Syrian leader has however given more credit to a separate diplomatic track in Kazakhstan's capital Astana, which is being led by his allies Russian Federation and Iran along with Turkey.

Jones said he was not optimistic about a deal to set up "de-escalation zones" inside Syria in an attempt to reduce violence and save lives.

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