Wed | Nov 22, 2017

Syria denies US allegations of mass killings, crematorium

Published:Wednesday | May 17, 2017 | 12:00 AM
A Syrian nurse carries an injured child who was wounded by Syrian government forces’ shelling in the Hamouriyya neighborhood, an eastern suburb of Damascus, Syria, yesterday.

BEIRUT (AP):

Syria yesterday rejected United States (US) accusations that it carried out mass killings at a prison near Damascus and then burned the victims' bodies in a crematorium, describing the allegations as "lies" and "fabrications."

The allegations are a "new Hollywood plot" to justify US intervention in Syria, Syria's Foreign Ministry said, noting what it called a US track record of using false claims as a pretext for military aggression.

The State Department said Monday it believes that about 50 detainees are hanged each day at the Saydnaya military prison, a 45-minute drive north of Damascus.

Many of the bodies are then burned in the crematorium "to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place," said Stuart Jones, the top US diplomat for the Middle East. He accused the government of President Bashar Assad of sinking "to a new level of depravity".

The Syrian government forcefully denied it.

"The US administration's accusations against the Syrian government of a so-called crematorium in Saydnaya prison, in addition to the broken record about the use of barrel bombs and chemical weapons, are categorically false," the Foreign Ministry said.

The new allegation comes at a time when the Trump administration is weighing its options in Syria, where an estimated 400,000 have been killed and half the population displaced by the six-year-old civil war.