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Syria’s Assad government burned hundreds of people: report

A report published by two non-governmental human rights groups says the Syrian government burned people to death or after they were killed
A boy stands near a dead body of a victim, killed by Syrian government forces, at a cemetery in Ritya district of Alleppo, Syria on 18 February, 2015 (AA)

Syrian government forces have burned at least 82 people to death, including 47 civilians and 18 children, a joint report released by two non-governmental organisations claimed Wednesday.

The report prepared by the Geneva-based Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights and the Syrian Network for Human Rights specifically pointed out the atrocities committed by Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government.

“Since 2011, bodies of another 773 people, including 146 women and 69 children, have been found that were apparently murdered then burned, either to cover up the regime’s crimes or to intimidate the opposition,” it said.

The figures quoted by the organisations in the report could not be independently verified.

According to the report, the Syrian government's practice of burning people alive received little or no media coverage. The Syrian government denied committing any such crimes.

“Burning people to death or burning the bodies after killing their victims is a practice systematically adopted by regime forces in various Syrian cities over the past four years,” Fadel Abdul Ghani, chair of the Syrian Network for Human Rights, said.

“The crimes coincided with several sectarian massacres, mostly in Hama where 38 people were burned alive,” Ghani added.

The report also said the investigation found that the burnings were carried out individually in some incidents and collectively to a large number of people following massacres. It added that in some cases women were burned after being sexually assaulted.

Ihsan Adel, Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights’ legal advisor, told AA, “We sent the report to the Syrian Foreign Ministry to get an answer a week ago. Till now there is no answer.”

The Syrian Mission to the UN in Geneva did not respond to AA’s request for comment.

Syria has been gripped by violence since Assad launched a violent crackdown in response to anti-government protests in March 2011, triggering a conflict that has left at least 210,000 people dead and displaced almost half of the country’s population, according to the UN.

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