EA WorldView

Syria: Assad, “11,000 Tortured Detainees”, & Geneva II Conference

Syria: Assad, “11,000 Tortured Detainees”, & Geneva II Conference
January 21
16:46 2014

I spoke with BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday afternoon about the report — based on photographs and the testimony of the defected Syrian military photographer — of 11,000 detainees tortured and killed in Syria’s prisons, the possible effect on Wednesday’s “Geneva II” peace conference, and the future of US and British policy towards the Assad regime.

The interview, including British Conservative MP Brooks Newmark, also touched on humanitarian issues and the situation in refugee camps in Syria’s neighboring countries.

The item begins at 7:48, with discussion from 10:02

Related Posts

About Author

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas

Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

Related Articles

14 Comments

  1. Carlos Jerez
    Carlos Jerez January 21, 20:47

    Mr Newmark talked about the very different amount of crimes comitted by each side, even being very plausible that Assad’s regime is the responsible of most of the crimes, how can we know the actual proportion? It seems difficult to get a reliable estimation.

    I am glad that this message can be listened by so many people, even I think nothing is going to be done, at least in short run. So, even if this a media war against Assad and Putin, you may have wondered what are the prospects for Syria in the next years. I know that is very easy to fail and it would be fictional, but what do you think is going to happen during the next three years?.

    Reply to this comment
    • gunniy
      gunniy January 21, 22:50

      Sorry Carlos, but there should be no difficulty to figure out what is going on.
      http://static.guim.co.uk/ni/1390226674736/syria-report-execution-tort.pdf

      That`s the entry. If you are able to read more take this on:
      http://www.amnesty.org/en/library/asset/MDE24/012/2010/en/941924e2-7cd3-4627-a265-ab5674d23386/mde240122010en.pdf
      Amnesty is talking about that there are thousands missing from the 1970 and 1980.

      Let alone the massacres from 1964 and 1982.

      The Assad clans systematic campaign of arrest, torture, assassination, expulsion and forced migration for decades is responsible for the syrian orgy of violence. This is well documented for decades. Without exaggeration it can be said that syria are the current killing fields of the Middle East.

      The only question should be: Why don`t you know it ? Ignorance? Political veneering?

      Reply to this comment
      • Andre De Angelis
        Andre De Angelis January 22, 03:30

        Note Carlos that both links gunniy provided covers the period that the US was sending prisoners to Syria to be tortured on Washington’s behalf.

        The Assad clans systematic campaign of arrest, torture, assassination, expulsion and forced migration for decades is responsible for the syrian orgy of violence

        Note that it wasn’t Assad who ate human organs, filmed children beheading adults, or committed suicide bombing.

        Without exaggeration it can be said that syria are the current killing fields of the Middle East.

        Without exaggeration it can be said that syria is in the middle of a civil war that could end tomorrow if the Saudis stopped financing it.

        Reply to this comment
      • Carlos AJM
        Carlos AJM January 22, 21:26

        I guess I did not explain myself well. I did not mean that we could not be sure about the many crimes commited by the regime, I meant the proportion between crimes committed by each side, Mr Newmark said that regime crimes are one hundre or one thousand times the opposition times, I have no idea what is the actual proportion and I would like to know if someone is counting and how precise they are.

        Andre, I don’t know if you remember that took one year of reppresion to start the war.

        Reply to this comment
        • magpie68
          magpie68 January 23, 17:49

          @Carlos AJM We have figures on the civilian deaths attributable to the regimefrom the Violations Documentation Centre: over 63000 (this is a minimum figure). On the other side there is not any equivalent tally – but it should be possible possible to make ball-park estimates by totalling reported incidents. I’ve not done this systematically, but: there is only one large scale kiilling of civilians attributed to rebel forces (primarily the work of ISIS) – the killings in Latakia in August, with 190 deaths, a rough tally of other civilian deaths due to rebel actions (car bombs, smaller-scale sectarian incidents, individual executions) would suggest a further figure of 1000 or so. Even if you double this total to allow a margin of error, you get a figure of over 95% of civilian deaths down to the regime.

          Reply to this comment
          • Andre De Angelis
            Andre De Angelis January 23, 21:36

            We have figures on the civilian deaths attributable to the regimefrom the Violations Documentation Centre: over 63000 (this is a minimum figure)

            Where do you have those figures?

            Even if you double this total to allow a margin of error, you get a figure of over 95% of civilian deaths down to the regime. </i<

            I've read reports that suggest the figure is closer to 50%.

            Reply to this comment
  2. Andre De Angelis
    Andre De Angelis January 21, 23:56

    of 11,000 detainees tortured and killed in Syria’s prisons, the possible effect on Wednesday’s “Geneva II” peace conference

    That is precisely what this timely report is intended to achieve. The Saudi propagandists are throwing everything they have, including the kitchen sink, at this in order to avoid what you Scott, predicted would happen – Washington’s redirection to supporting Assad.

    Reply to this comment
    • Kevin
      Kevin January 22, 07:22

      I know right. It’s totally unbelievable that an entrenched dictator fighting for his life would ever sanction mass torture to remain in power. I mean it’s not as if he was already a torturer before the pro=democracy uprising even started. It’s not as if experts confirmed the authenticity of the photos showing the brutality of the Assad dictatorship.~

      It’s so sad to see people shamelessly try to spin horrific war crimes because of their backwards worldview.

      Reply to this comment
      • Andre De Angelis
        Andre De Angelis January 22, 08:02

        I mean it’s not as if he was already a torturer before the pro=democracy uprising even started.

        You’re right. After all, the US government was his biggest client, when he was torturing rendered detainees.

        It’s not as if experts confirmed the authenticity of the photos showing the brutality of the Assad dictatorship.

        What experts are you referring to? Look, the point is that in the lead up to Geneva II, there has been a flood of these stories hitting the papers. It’s no stretch to suspect the timing is intended to impact the Geneva II talks.

        It’s so sad to see people shamelessly try to spin horrific war crimes because of their backwards worldview.

        That’s saying a lot, given the crazy barbaric beheading enamored rabble sent in courtesy of one of the most backward, reactionary and barbarian states in the world today (yes, I mean SA with Qatar a runner-up).

        Reply to this comment
  3. Catmari
    Catmari January 22, 10:27

    The United States warned that the evidence of war crimes cast a shadow over the Geneva II peace talks, which begin on Wednesday in Montreux.

    “We stand with the rest of the world in horror at these images which have come to light,” a US administration official told the Guardian. “We condemn in the strongest possible terms the actions of the regime and call on it to adhere to international obligations with respect to the treatment of prisoners.”

    The US official said the latest evidence of atrocities “tarnished the environment” for those negotiations, which will see opposition forces engage in direct talks with the regime for the first time since the 34-month conflict began.

    “This latest report of horrific and inhumane prison conditions/actions further underscores that, if anything, it is tarnishing the environment for the talks,” the official said.
    http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/21/assad-government-trial-icc-syrian-opposition-coalition

    Reply to this comment
    • Andre De Angelis
      Andre De Angelis January 22, 12:07

      I just read the report and and the findings are truly horrific.

      With respecy to the explanation for why such crimes were documented by photographs, there are more than a few holes that stand out.

      On page 7 is states that:

      “The reason for photographing executed persons was twofold: First to permit a death certificate to be produced to the authorities without having to give a truthful account of their deaths; second to confirm that orders to execute individuals had been carried out. ”

      Yet on page 13 it sates that:

      “The purpose of documenting the corpses was to ensure that none have been released by the security services and to inform the families of murdered detainees in due course that the cause of death in each case was either a “heart attack” of “breathing problems” and to satisfy the authorities that executions had been performed.”

      What are the problems here?

      1. Why does anyone need a photograph to inform the families of murdered detainees in due course that the cause of death in each case was either a “heart attack” or “breathing problems”? As the analysts themselves admit, there is little to glean from the pictures that reveals cause of death.

      2. How would taking pictures of the corpses permit a death certificate to be produced to the authorities without having to give a truthful account of their deaths? Unless the photographs are taken to show the families of the victims, this serves no purpose as far as the families are concerned. If the photographs are indeed shows to the families, then they would be self incriminating because the emaciated state of the corpses cannot be explained by “heart attack” or “breathing problems”.

      Reply to this comment
  4. gunniy
    gunniy January 22, 14:00

    The indescribable gets a face: The horror in the torture prisons of Assad has never been so urgent documented in a legal appraisals. Note: The distinguished jurists have analyzed only a fraction of the photos.

    It is clear that the evidential force of the material is sufficient for a lawsuit against the Assad regime for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

    Finally the issue of human rights is coming back in the first place. In addition, it seems to be that it is long forgotten that the popular uprising against the Assad dictatorship began with the protest against the shooting of children. The uprising began with demonstrations for more freedom, for democratic rights and human rights.

    That is the center and the core of the syrian conflict.

    Reply to this comment
    • Andre De Angelis
      Andre De Angelis January 22, 22:20

      The horror in the torture prisons of Assad has never been so urgent documented in a legal appraisals.

      The report has no legal basis whatsoever. It was commissioned and paid for by Qatarr, which has bankrolled the rebels, which raise questions as to it’s credibility.

      The evidence has not been vetted or verified and only a handful of photographs have been released to the public – the excuse given is that releasing more images might identify the defector, endangering his family or former colleagues, and, they say, they cannot release the images out of respect for the victims’ families. The claims about the origins of the photos could not be independently verified.

      So no, the evidential force of the material is hardly sufficient for a lawsuit against the Assad regime for war crimes and crimes against humanity.

      Reply to this comment
  5. gunniy
    gunniy January 23, 22:27

    It is.

    Reply to this comment

Write a Comment

Leave a Comment

An Introduction to EA

Subscribe to EA via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to EA and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Donate to EA

Archive

Categories