The Corner

National Security & Defense

Assad’s Regime Builds a Giant Crematorium

If you thought Bashir Assad’s regime in Syria couldn’t possibly get worse… well, it’s worse:

 The Syrian regime has built a crematorium 45 minutes outside of Damascus where the U.S. government believes they are burning the bodies of the thousands of prisoners executed inside the walls of the Saydnaya military prison — an institution nicknamed “the slaughterhouse”.

The prison is believed to kill at least 50 detainees a day often by mass hangings, acting assistant Secretary for Middle Eastern Affairs Stuart Jones briefed reporters on Monday. Jones also presented aerial photos of the prison complex showing the crematorium’s construction in 2013.

The international community previously believed that the bodies were being disposed of in mass graves. The building of a crematorium allows the regime to cover up the extent of mass murders they undertake while leaving behind little evidence, Jones said.

Granted, before the Syrian Civil War, it wasn’t crystal clear that Bashir Assad would become one of the globe’s bloodiest and most ruthless dictators. But his regime’s awful brutality and callous mass executions aren’t exactly stunning, either. In 1982, the dictator’s father, President Hafez al-Assad, leveled a city and killed anywhere from “10,000 to 25,000 Syrians, mostly civilians.” The apple did not fall far from the tree.

It’s never a bad time to look back at all of the Western officials and opinion leaders who assured us that Assad was the kind of leader who deserved America’s extended hand of friendship and trust.

The above photo is from 2007, when Pelosi traveled to Damascus and declared, “We came in friendship, hope, and determined that the road to Damascus is a road to peace,” Pelosi told reporters after her talks with Assad. Good call, ma’am. Good call.

Also that year, then-Senator Barack Obama said he was willing to meet with Assad “without preconditions.” For all of the other flaws of his foreign policy, Obama never met with Assad.

Starting in 2009, then-Senator John Kerry visited Assad several times, and in 2011 he said Assad was “very generous with me in terms of the discussions we have had. . . . My judgment is that Syria will move; Syria will change, as it embraces a legitimate relationship with the United States and the West.” 

And then, of course, there’s Vogue magazine:

In February, Vogue magazine published, for the benefit of its 11.7 million readers, an article titled “A Rose in the Desert” about the first lady of Syria. Asma al-Assad has British roots, wears designer fashion, worked for years in banking, and is married to the dictator Bashar al-Assad, whose regime has killed over 5,000 civilians and hundreds of children this year. The glowing article praised the Assads as a “wildly democratic” family-focused couple who vacation in Europe, foster Christianity, are at ease with American celebrities, made theirs the “safest country in the Middle East,” and want to give Syria a “brand essence.”

Finally, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaii Democrat, met with Assad earlier this year and came back with nothing critical to say about him, and in fact accused the United States of “supporting terror groups.”

Great job, everybody. Take a bow.