Syria has been in the grip of a civil war for several years now, and thousands of people have been killed in the conflicts. Many of the deaths are nothing short of cold-blooded murder as has been reported from a prison near Damascus. The situation in Syria has given rise to a dire humanitarian crisis as the people flee from their homeland and escape to neighboring countries as refugees.

Civilian prisoners executed

Amnesty International has reported that nearly 13,000 civilian prisoners were executed in Syria’s Saydnaya prison between 2011 and 2015.

It was a military prison located in the vicinity of Damascus, and the prisoners were tortured before being executed at the rate of 20 to 50 people every week. The torture included depriving them of food, water, medicine and medical care.

The incident was all the more shocking because the sentence of death was passed after a sham trial that lasted for hardly a few minutes and, the executions were authorized by deputies of President Bashar al-Assad. This has been revealed by other inmates of the prison.

It is not the first time that crimes of this nature have been reported from Syria and, the government has always been in the denial mode.

Amnesty International wants UN to investigate

Amnesty feels that these crimes fall into the category of war crimes because the victims were predominantly civilians who opposed the government.

The executions were meant to put an end to dissent among the Syrians and, the dead bodies were buried in mass graves outside Damascus. The families were kept in the dark.

Incidentally, one of the interviews Amnesty had was with an individual who escaped execution. He had been in prison for nine months and has described the pathetic life in the jail where prisoners felt that death was preferable to the torture.

The interviews were held with about 30 ex-inmates of the prison.

Amnesty now wants UN to investigate this war crime and has called upon countries like Russia and Iran, who support the regime of Bashar al-Assad, to condemn the mass execution and work together to bring peace in the region.