US Knew of Syria Torture Photos for Months
As UN looks to salvage peace talks
By Kevin Spak, Newser User
Posted Jan 23, 2014 7:58 AM CST
In this May 4, 2013 file photo shows dead bodies in Banias, Syria.   (AP Photo/Edlib News Network ENN, File)

(Newser) – The Obama administration wasn't exactly shocked this week when war crimes prosecutors released 55,000 photos of people systematically killed by Bashar al-Assad's regime—because the State Department has known about them since November, the New York Times reports. The administration didn't act on the photos because it couldn't authenticate them, and it doesn't intend to seriously change its Syria policy because of them. But John Kerry did endorse a demand that the UN investigate the photos.

"The questions raised by this require an answer," Kerry said yesterday, in Geneva talks that proved particularly acrimonious. UN mediator Lakhdar Bahimi will meet today with Assad's regime and the opposition separately and see if there's any room for common ground, the AP reports. He's optimistic that the sides will be able to agree on humanitarian aid, cease-fires, or prisoner exchanges. But the two sides aren't exactly optimistic. "All they have done so far is ignore reality," said a Syrian National Coalition member.

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Jan 25, 2014 2:08 PM CST
Muslims killing Muslims. It has always been. It will always be. It's their culture.
Jan 23, 2014 11:32 AM CST
Why should the Syrian regime cooperate when the U.S. keeps demanding that the outcome of the talks must include the removal of Assad? If we want these talks to result in any kind of agreement among the major players of Syria, Russia, Iran and the U.S., we should include Iran and admit that the end result might have to be that Assad stays in power-however odious that he might be.
Jan 23, 2014 11:30 AM CST
Another story that prompts me to re-present what I stated yesterday: The U.S. stand in the Syrian peace talks should be... 1) Do pretty much whatever you wish, we are withdrawing all support for any/all parties. 2) Any/all future mass atrocities against children will bring some heavily punitive U.S. special forces hellfire upon those who do so... rest assured, we are closely watching! 3) Good luck with your negotiations, you frickin' dickheads! The above stand can be stated in a matter of seconds... ... followed immediately by the U.S. exiting the talks.