Syria’s Crematorium Represents Nazi-level 'Crimes Against Humanity,' ADL Says

Anti-Defamation League calls on the international community – 'especially Russia' – to put a halt to killing and burning of countless prisoners outside Damascus

Allison Kaplan Sommer
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This image provided by the State Department and DigitalGlobe, taken Aug. 27, 2013, left, and April 16, 2015, satellite images of what the State Department described as a building in a prison complex in Syria that was modified to support a crematorium.
Satellite images, taken Aug. 27, 2013, left, and April 16, 2015, of what the State Department described as a building in a prison complex in Syria that was modified to support a crematorium.Credit: AP
Allison Kaplan Sommer

The Anti-Defamation League has expressed “shock and outrage” at reports that the Syrian regime is burning the bodies of people being executed in a Damascus prison and called on the international community – “especially Russia” – to put a halt to actions that “invoke the worst nightmares of Nazi atrocities against the Jewish people.”

Jonathan A. Greenblatt, CEO of the organization, said: “The nations of the world - including first and foremost Russia which continues to aid and abet Assad’s brutality - must act to put an end to the inhumane actions of the Syrian government. These atrocities, which were committed against the Syrian people, are truly crimes against humanity.”

He noted that “the world learned from the twentieth century that it did not do enough to stop the crimes of the Nazis which led to the genocide of six million Jews.”

On Monday, the U.S. State Department said that the Assad regime had installed a crematorium in Syria’s Saydnaya prison, accusing the Syrian government of killing thousands of prisoners and burning the dead bodies. It released newly declassified photographs showing what it says is a building in the prison complex that has been modified to support the crematorium. The State Department says about 50 detainees a day are being hanged at the military prison, about 45 minutes from Damascus and that the crematorium is being used to hide evidence of the extent of the killings.

The ADL’s specific call on Russia to act against Assad echoes the statements made by Stuart Jones when he briefed reporters on the crematorium revelations on Monday. Jones said in his briefing that Assad’s government had carried out air strikes, chemical attacks, extrajudicial killings, starvation, and other measures to target civilians and its opponents. He criticized Russia and Iran for maintaining their support for Assad despite those tactics.

“These atrocities have been carried out seemingly with the unconditional support from Russia and Iran,” Jones said. “The (Assad) regime must stop all attacks on civilian and opposition forces. And Russia must bear responsibility to ensure regime compliance.”