Photos Of Syrian Torture Chambers To Be Displayed At Holocaust Museum

Christian Datoc Senior White House Correspondent
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A Syrian photographer has handed the U.S. Department of State over 27,000 photographs of Bashar al-Assad’s torture victims, and they will go on display Wednesday at the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C.

These harrowing images, originally shown to the House Foreign Affairs Committee at a closed-door-hearing in July, “constitute ‘smoking gun’ evidence that can be used to bring war-crimes charges against the regime,” according to Yahoo News.

The photos were smuggled out of Syria by a former official regime photographer known only as Caesar. The former military policeman “was assigned to lead a team of 11 photographers whose job it was to document the deaths of detainees brought to a military hospital from three detention centers around Damascus” during the Arab Spring protests in 2011.

But in 2013, Caesar had been disillusioned with the Assad regime and reached out to Syrian rebels for help. After elaborately faking his death, the photographer “began smuggling his photos to the rebels, providing them with thumb drives concealed in his shoes,” in exchange for safe passage to Europe.

The most shocking aspect of Caesar’s photos is how they detail the systematic process behind the murderous attacks.

War crimes prosecutor David Crane stated that the photographs illustrate “an industrial killing machine not seen since the Holocaust.

After the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing, at which Caesar anonymously testified, Chairman Rep. Ed Royce said the photographs reminded him of the pictures his father had brought back after World War II: “My father had taken photos at Dachau when it was liberated, of the bodies stacked up at the ovens. This is eerily reminiscent. It’s absolutely appalling.”

The U.S. has already committed $1 million to investigate potential war crimes in Syria. These photographs lay “the foundation for the day when there will be accountability, said U.S. Ambassador-at-Large for War Crimes Stephen Rapp. “This is the kind of evidence that can support prosecution of people all the way to the top.”