Claims of torture and summary executions by all sides in the Syrian Civil War are so common as to border on cliche at this point, but a new report takes the allegations to a new level, with a Syrian military police defector smuggling a large cache of images to the Qatari government, which has produced a report on the “most compelling” evidence and demanding war crimes prosecution.
The defector was a photographer for the military police, and apparently spent all day every day photographing the corpses of tortured detainees for bureaucratic purposes. The photographic evidence purports to show 11,000 such deaths in “industrial-scale” killing operations.
The Qatari-hired team was convinced the evidence merited war crimes charges, though Qatar had been demanding such charges for years to begin with, and has been bankrolling the rebellion with a goal of ousting Assad, so they are far from unbiased on the issue.
Human rights groups like Human Rights Watch have said they were not given a chance to authenticate any of the putative “smoking gun” evidence, though pro-rebel governments seem to be universally endorsing the narrative without asking such questions.
The timing of the release seems intended to influence the Geneva 2 peace talks, which begin later this week. The initial goal was to “end the fighting” in Syria, though US and other officials now suggest the whole point of the talks is regime change.