Israeli minister says 'time has come to assassinate Assad'

Construction Minister and retired IDF General Yoav Galant at a conference near Jerusalem on Tuesday, May 16, 2017
Miriam Tzachi
Retired IDF general accuses Syrian dictator of committing acts of genocide saying he has no 'right to exist'

Israeli Housing and Construction Minister and retired IDF General Yoav Galant said Tuesday that the time has come to assassinate Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad.

Galant said that Assad “no longer has the right to exist,” while delivering an address at a conference outside Jerusalem.

Galant accused the Syrian dictator of "committing acts of genocide" and said that once Israel had taken out "the tail of the snake," referring to Syria, it could take out "the head of the snake which sits in Tehran," referring to Iran's funding of Shiite terrorism in the region.

"The world needs to expel the Shiite monster and send it back to where it came from," Galant asserted.

The US State Department on Monday accused the Syrian government of carrying out mass killings of thousands of prisoners and using a 'crematorium' installed in a military prison outside Damascus to cover up the slaughter.

Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary for the State Department Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, presented reporters with newly declassified satellite photos of the Saydnaya military prison showing what it says is a building which has been modified to support the crematorium.

The pictures also apparently show 'snow' melting on the roof of the facility, known among detainees as "the slaughterhouse".

The US is alleging that some 50 detainees are being hanged there each day, and that regime forces are burning the bodies to cover up the extent of the killings.

DIGITALGLOBE (DIGITALGLOBE/AFP)

Jones said Washington's information came from credible humanitarian agencies and from the US "intelligence community".

"Beginning in 2013, the Syrian regime modified a building within the Saydnaya complex to support what we believe is a crematorium," Jones said.

"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 the mass murders taking place in Saydnaya."

President Bashar al-Assad's Syrian regime, he alleged, had detained between 65,000 and 117,000 people between 2011 and 2015.

Jones said the photographs were evidence that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime forces have "sunk to a new level of depravity."

"We are appalled by the atrocities that have been carried out by the Syrian regime and these atrocities have been carried out seemingly with the unconditional support from Russia and Iran," Jones said, calling on both countries to use their influence with Assad to advance a political solution to the conflict.

He did not give an official estimate for the total number killed, but cited an Amnesty International report published in February that said as many as 13,000 people have been secretly hanged by Syrian authorities at the prison over the past five years.

Amnesty's report accused the Syrian government of carrying out a "policy of extermination" at Saydnaya by repeatedly torturing detainees and withholding food, water, and medical care.

Thousands of prisoners are held in the prison, one of the country's largest detention centers, located 30 kilometers north of Damascus.

A probe by the United Nations last year accused Assad's government of a policy of "extermination" in its jails.

More than 310,000 people have been killed and millions have fled their homes since the conflict began with anti-Assad protests.

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