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Press Statement
Heather Nauert
Department Spokesperson
Washington, DC
August 6, 2018


The Syrian regime’s recent notices confirming the deaths of thousands of political prisoners in its custody affirms what the international community has long suspected and can never forget: the regime has systematically arrested, tortured, and murdered tens of thousands of Syrian civilians in response to their legitimate and nonviolent calls for their freedom, rights, and political reforms. Since the Syrian uprising began in 2011, at least 117,000 Syrians have been detained or forcibly disappeared, according to numerous human rights organizations. The vast majority of them are believed to be in regime custody, across a network of prisons where regime officials torture and murder civilians to intimidate and silence any opposition to Assad’s rule. Extensive documentation and other evidence of this torture and murder is being collected by international organizations, and support the world’s continued condemnation of the Syrian regime and prosecution of culpable officials in various courts. The United States strongly reiterates its condemnation of the Assad regime’s cruel actions and calls on it to adhere to international laws and norms pertaining to the treatment of prisoners, including by allowing access for independent monitors. We will continue to work with the international community to investigate and shed light on these nefarious activities and work to hold those responsible accountable.

U.S. Department of State

The Lessons of 1989: Freedom and Our Future