Syria killed more than 13,000 people in mass hangings since 2011, says Amnesty

The Syrian government has used torture and enforced disappearance as a means to crush dissent for decades, the report said.

Syria killed more than 13,000 people in mass hangings since 2011, says Amnesty

Syrian authorities have killed more than 13,000 people since the start of the 2011 uprising in mass hangings at a prison north of Damascus known to detainees as “the slaughterhouse,” Amnesty International claim in its report on on Tuesday.

In a new report, released on February 7, the human right body said 20 to 50 people were hanged each week at Saydnaya Prison in killings authorized by senior Syrian officials, including deputies of President Bashar al-Assad, and carried out by military police.

The report referred to the killings as a “calculated campaign of extrajudicial execution.”

Amnesty has recorded at least 35 different methods of torture in Syria since the late 1980s, practices that have increased since 2011, said Lynn Maalouf, deputy director for research at Amnesty’s regional office in Beirut, according to a
Associated Press

The report added that other rights groups have found evidence of widespread torture leading to death in Syrian detention facilities. In a report last year, Amnesty found that more than 17,000 people had died of torture and poor treatment in custody across Syria since 2011, an average rate of more than 300 a month.

"There are two detention centres at Saydnaya Military Prison, which may hold between 10,000 and 20,000 people. In the “red building”, the majority of detainees are civilians who have been arrested since the beginning of the crisis in 2011. In the “white building”, the majority of detainees are officers and soldiers in the Syrian military who have also been arrested since 2011," reads Amnesty report.

It has also been found that thousands of people detained in the red building have been killed in secret extrajudicial executions, after being held in conditions amounting to enforced disappearance. " The killings have taken the form of mass hangings. Before they are hanged, the victims are condemned to death in “trials” at the Military Field Court located in the al-Qaboun neighbourhood of Damascus, which last between one and three minutes. On the day the prison authorities carry out the hangings, which they refer to as “the party”, they collect the victims from their cells in the afternoon," the report said.

"The listed detainees are told that they will be transferred to a civilian prison. Instead, they are brought to a cell in the basement of the red building, where they are severely beaten over the course of two or three hours. In the middle of the night, they are blindfolded and transferred in delivery trucks or minibuses to the white building. There, they are taken into a room in the basement and hanged. " the report said.

"Throughout this process, the victims remain blindfolded. They are only told that they have been sentenced to death minutes before the executions are carried out; they are never told when their execution will be carried out; and they do not know how they will die until the nooses are placed around their necks.  After the execution is carried out, the victims’ bodies are loaded into a truck, transferred to Tishreen Hospital for registration and buried in mass graves. These graves are located on military land near Damascus, including in Najha, a village on the main road between Sweida and Damascus, and in Qatana, a small town in the western suburbs of Damascus," the report added.