NEW YORK (JTA) – The head of the Anti-Defamation League drew parallels between Syria’s alleged use of a crematorium to dispose of bodies to actions committed by the Nazis during the Holocaust.
Jonathan Greenblatt, the group’s national director, also called on the international community, including Russia, to take action to stop the violence perpetuated by the Syrian government under the leadership of President Bashar Assad.
“As Jews, we are particularly shocked by the extreme brutality of the Syrian regime, which invokes the worst nightmares of Nazi atrocities against the Jewish people,” Greenblatt said Tuesday in a statement. “The world learned from the twentieth century that it did not do enough to stop the crimes of the Nazis which led to the genocide of six million Jews.
“The nations of the world – including first and foremost Russia, which continues to aid and abet Assad’s brutality – must act to put an end to the inhumane actions of the Syrian government.”
On Monday, the United States said it believes the Syrian government built a crematorium to cover up the killing of as many as 50 detainees a day at a prison north of Damascus.
“Although the regime’s many atrocities are well-documented, we believe the building of a crematorium is an effort to cover up the extent of mass atrocities taking place in Saydnaya prison,” said Stuart Jones, acting assistant secretary for the State Department’s Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs, according to CNN.
Jones added: “We are appalled by the atrocities taking place in Syria” with the “seemingly unconditional support of Russia.”
The U.S. Holocaust Museum in a statement issued Tuesday afternoon said it welcomed the release of the previously classified imagery pointing to the alleged crematorium.
Photographs of torture and death in by Syrian security forces in secret facilities have been on display at the museum since 2015; the photos were taken by a former regime photographer code-named Caesar. “These photographs constitute the most comprehensive evidence of the regime’s widespread and systematic targeting of Syrian civilians,” the museum said in its statement.
“The State Department’s revelation that the regime is now taking extraordinary efforts to cover up its crimes, through the suspected use of crematoria, demonstrate why it is all the more important to redouble efforts to bring the conflict to an end and investigate, document, and hold accountable those who direct and carry out these widespread atrocities,” according to the statement.