Syrian government documents show reach of Assad's agencies

A Washington-based Syrian watchdog says thousands of documents collected from abandoned Syrian government offices reveal the reach of President Bashar Assad's security agencies, offering a rare glimpse into the inner workings of his secretive apparatus.

The documents include handwritten notes from top commanders to "do what is necessary" to quell anti-Assad protests.

The Syria Justice and Accountability Center says the documents show officials at the highest level were either aware or involved in the bloody crackdown since 2011.

The group analyzed a sample of 5,000 documents from nearly half a million obtained in 2013 and 2015 from several Syrian provinces after government forces withdrew.

Its report, released on Tuesday, offers evidence of government violations of the laws of war. Director Mohammad Al-Abdallah says they may be used for criminal prosecution.