A Syrian military prison that Amnesty International last year called a "human slaughterhouse" is reported to be executing upward of 50 prisoners daily, and now a US State Department official says President Bashar al-Assad's regime has built and is using a secret crematorium to dispose of the bodies, Reuters and the Washington Post report. Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, puts the number of Syrians who have been rounded up, detained, and "exterminated" at the Sednaya prison outside of Damascus in the thousands, and the killings appear to have "unconditional support" from both Russia and Iran. Jones, who offered overhead photos of the reported crematorium, said evidence was culled from "intelligence assessments," as well as human rights and other sources.
Based on the Amnesty International report, the prisoners are apparently yanked from their cells in the middle of the night, ostensibly to be placed in different cells, then summarily hanged or otherwise killed en masse, per CNN. Jones indicated that while Russia and Iran may not have known specifically about the crematorium, they've certainly been aware of other atrocities said to be taking place, ABC News notes. Jones also had a pessimistic take on a deal last week, negotiated with Russia's help, to set up "de-escalation zones" inside the war-torn country to cut down on the violence. "In light of the failures of the past ceasefire agreements, we have reason to be skeptical," Jones said, per Reuters. (The Syrian Kurds are about to get more help from the US.)