Syria’s Saydnaya prison: ‘The wound in our souls that will never stop bleeding’

Published February 9th, 2017 - 01:01 GMT
Syria’s Saydnaya prison: ‘The wound in our souls that will never stop bleeding’ (Pixabay, picture for illustrative purposes only)
Syria’s Saydnaya prison: ‘The wound in our souls that will never stop bleeding’ (Pixabay, picture for illustrative purposes only)

Many in the Middle East and beyond have expressed their heartbreak following the horrific revelations that 13,000 people have been executed in Syria’s Saydnaya prison.

An Amnesty International report released on Monday painted a gruesome picture of mass hangings at Saydnaya, during the past five years of civil war. Entitled “Human Slaughterhouse”, the report offered a grim account of torture and inhuman conditions imposed on detainees at the regime prison.

Following the release of the report, Amnesty has called upon Syrian President Bashar al-Assad to put an end to what it called “these murderous detention policies.”

While it was well-known prior to this investigation that Assad’s regime had tortured and executed large numbers of his opponents within government prisons, the sheer scale and detail of the study’s findings has shocked many.

Attempting to find a way to deal with the heartwrenching report, Syrians and international activists have taken to social media to denounce its findings.

Lina Shamy, who documented the battle for East Aleppo on her Twitter account, tweeted the following

Al-Arabiya presenter, Mohammed Abu Obeid, commented:

13,000 Syrians were executed by hanging in #Saydnaya alone at the hands of the regime, across five years. What about the rest of the prisons?!!

Jordan-based Palestinian journalist, Yasser Zaatreh wrote on Twitter:

From Tadmur prison to Saydnaya prison, and other prisons beside... How much of the blood of this proud people has the Assad family lapped up?! We will only ever know some of the crimes that were committed in these last few years.

For many, the only way to deal with the picture of cruelty painted in the report was to turn to biting satire.

British-Syrian journalist Faisal al-Qassem:

The Syrian Ministry of Justice: The aim of Amnesty International's report on the Sednaya prison is to distort the reputation of the regime.

Since when do whores worry about their reputations?

It was the international community’s apparent intransigence that most angered many.

Palestinian intellectual, Azmi Bishara, posted:

If Saydnaya and Tadmur (Palmyra) prisons were historical buildings, then international delegation would rush to make sure their stones are okay, after so many reports of these factories of torture, mistreatment and death.

The Syrian Justice Ministry has responded to the report’s findings by suggesting that they are “totally untrue” and that the “baseless” allegations are part of a smear campaign against the Syrian government.

Regardless of the regime’s denials, the reported campaign of executions has received the condemnation of many in the international community.

British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson has said that he was “sickened” by the killings detailed in the report, adding: “Assad responsible for so many deaths and has no future as leader.”

A US State Department official told Arab News that Washington is “in the process of looking at the report but our initial assessment is that we’re not surprised by its allegations.”


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