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Assad regime's prisons slaughterhouses: Govt defector
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 19 - 05 - 2020


Okaz/Saudi Gazette
JEDDAH — In an exclusive interview with Okaz/Saudi Gazette, a Syrian government defector codenamed "Caesar" recounted the horrific tales of inhuman atrocities perpetrated by the Assad regime against political opponents and the attempts of the Opposition to blackmail him.
Okaz is the first Arab newspaper to have spoken to Caesar and his partner Sami whose photographs unraveled the barbarity of the regime's killing machine that turned Syria into a place of human slaughterhouses.
"The naked corpses of innocent victims, including women, children and the elderly were lying everywhere on the ground. They had all the bruises of torture in their bodies," Caesar said.
A few years ago, a team of internationally renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts had found a direct evidence of systematic torture and killing by Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad's regime. Their report, based on thousands of photographs of dead bodies of alleged detainees killed in Syrian government custody, draws its evidence from the testimony of Caesar and almost 27,000 photographs he provided.
According to the report, Caesar worked as photographer in the Syrian military police. Once the war broke out, his work consisted entirely of documenting killed detainees. He claimed to have photographed as many as 50 bodies a day. At one point he took the unusual step of photographing a group of bodies to show that it "looked like a slaughterhouse," according to the report. The fact that all the bodies were photographed, strongly suggests that the killings were systematic, ordered, and directed from above.
Caesar described their work as mixed with grief, sadness and fear of the unknown future that awaits millions of Syrians under a bloody dictatorial regime that knows only the language of killing and blood. "The detainees were tortured and abused, and then buried in unknown mass graves. The methods of torture multiplied, sometimes by breaking the bones, sometimes by eye-gouging, and burning to death," he said.
Caesar saved the photos surreptitiously to thumb drives, smuggled them out of the country and laid bare the brutality of Assad regime. The horrifying pictures, almost 55,000 of them, taken by him and others, showed scenes that were compared to the depravity of the Nazis. Caesar considered the methods of torture inside the cellars of the Syrian prisons are more brutal and dirty than that of the Nazis.
Caesar revealed that there are more than 20 organizations and institutions working under the name of Caesar's team, and they collect hundreds of thousands of dollars annually from donor countries on the pretext of supporting the humanitarian and judicial initiatives, taking advantage of their limitation on security ground, and their inability to appear in limelight.
For his part, Sami accused a section of the Syrian opposition of blackmailing them, saying: "A major segment of the supporters of the Syrian opposition who wanted to take over the work on the file prepared by us, neglected our security, safety, and the safety of our families in order to reap material and non-material gains from this file."
Caesar, and Sami, the man who took the file to international forums, carry endless stories of pain, fear, and panic inside Assad regime's prisons, and these accounts were accompanied by images recorded by history against the worst dictatorships, even though the world is not moving even a single finger to stop this killing.


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