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In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, Syrian President Bashar Assad, addresses a speech to the newly-elected parliament at the parliament building, in Damascus, Syria, Tuesday, June 7, 2016. Assad has vowed to liberate every inch of the country the way government forces captured the historic town of Palmyra from the Islamic State group. (SANA via AP)

The US accused Syria of conducting mass executions and burning the bodies in a crematorium


UPDATE 12:19 p.m. EST: 

Stuart Jones, the State Department's acting assistant secretary for Near Eastern Affairs, accused Syria of attempting to conceal mass murders.

"We believe that the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass murders taking place in Saydnaya prison," Jones said.

The government of Syrian President Bashar Assad "has sunk to a new level of depravity," Jones said.

ORIGINAL STORY:  The U.S. has accused Syria of killing thousands of prisoners and burning their dead bodies in a crematorium outside its capital and largest city Damascus, the Associated Press reported.

About 50 detainees per day are being hanged at Saydnaya military prison, according to the State Department. The department is releasing photographs showing what it claims is a building in the prison complex that has been "modified to support the crematorium," the Associated Press reported.

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