An Israeli minister under Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Tuesday that, based on recent reports of new atrocities, it is time to "eliminate (President) Assad."
“The reality of the situation today in Syria, in which they are executing people, using chemical attacks against them, and the latest extreme measure -- burning their corpses, something which we haven’t seen in 70 years in this world -- we’re crossing a red line,” Housing and Construction Minister Yoav Gallant said Tuesday at a military conference, Bloomberg reported. “In my opinion, it’s time to eliminate Assad.”
Netanyahu’s office did not respond to Bloomberg for comment. Gallant reportedly made the remark a day after reports emerged about Assad’s regime possibly using a crematorium at a prison near Damascus as a venue for mass killings.
Stuart Jones, the acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, showed surveillance photos that -- combined with intelligence assessments and other reports -- officials believe show Bashar Assad’s government is complicit in covering up evidence of mass killings at the Sednaya Prison. Located near Damascus, the prison previously has been called a "human slaughterhouse" by Amnesty International.
Syria denied the report.
“Although the regime's many atrocities are well-documented, we believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place in Sednaya prison,” Jones said Monday.
Jones also charged that the “atrocities” were carried out “with unconditional support” from Russia and Iran.
Amnesty International has previously called Sednaya a “human slaughterhouse,” estimating 13,000 people were killed there from 2011-2015. It is believed Assad's regime kidnapped more than 100,000 people during that time.
In presenting the photographs, Jones said Syrian President Assad's government "has sunk to a new level of depravity" with the support of Russia and Iran and called on both countries to use its influence with Syria to establish a credible ceasefire and begin political talks.