Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Museum to display images of Syrian killings

16 October 2014, 09:23

Washington - Images of emaciated and mangled bodies from recent history in Syria are going on public display for the first time on Wednesday at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, documenting the work of a former Syrian military photographer who defected and has testified in Congress about witnessing mass killings.

The small exhibit, entitled "Genocide: The Threat Continues", features a dozen images from an archive of 55 000 pictures smuggled out of Syria. The photographer, codenamed "Caesar", testified in July that he witnessed a "genocidal massacre" and photographed more than 10 000 bodies as part of his job. He warned a similar fate could befall 150 000 more people who remain incarcerated by Syrian President Bashar Assad's government.

Some images at the museum show dozens of bodies piled atop one another. Others show the effects of depravation and torture, including electrocution, gouged out eyes and removed genitals, said Cameron Hudson, the director of the museum's Center for the Prevention of Genocide. They're powerful images, and viewers are immediately reminded of the Holocaust, he said.

"They show a side of the Syrian regime that hasn't really been really seen. You might have heard about it, read about it, but when you're confronted with these images, they're impossible to ignore," Hudson said.

The museum relied on forensic examinations of the photographs conducted by the FBI and by former prosecutors and forensic experts of the International Criminal Court to verify the authenticity of the images. The US State Department has cited the FBI's examination as well, though the results have not been publicly released.

Syrian opposition groups hope to use the images to prosecute Assad's regime for war crimes.

Also read: Australia treating ISIS kill threat as genuine

The photos were shown to the UN Security Council in April. At the time, US Ambassador Samantha Power said the images "indicate that the Assad regime has carried out systematic, widespread and industrial killing".

Syria's Justice Ministry dismissed the images as "lacking objectiveness and professionalism".

At the museum, the images of Syrian corpses from detention centres share striking similarities with those of concentration camps during the Holocaust, Hudson said, showing evidence of starvation and emaciated bodies. They are the result of long-term detention, not battlefield deaths, he said.

"You don't wither away and die like that on a battlefield" Hudson said. "You don't get that in a matter of days or weeks. It's months and months of deprivation that causes the human body to wither away like that."

It's important to remember genocide didn't end with the Holocaust and is a real threat in Syria, he said.

The museum decided to exhibit the images because its scholars have long studied how witnesses who escaped Nazi Germany and reported atrocities to President Franklin D Roosevelt and other officials in Washington, only to be ignored.

"We realised that this person, Caesar, the Syrian who escaped, he was a witness," Hudson said. "We felt an obligation to tell his story as someone who showed real courage in coming forward and escaping and trying to tell the story of what he saw."

- AP

Tags us syria

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Cyril Mike Odhiz
Kenyans furious on young lady aft...

A young Kenyan woman is the talk of town after she posted a photo with her elderly lover after a round of steamy sex, or so the photo suggested.  Read more...

Submitted by
Kiplangat langat
Uhuru could be a one term Presid...

Bomet governor Isaac Ruto has said that President Uhuru Kenyatta could be a one term President if he fails to increase allocations to the counties. Read more...

Submitted by
Mody Sammy
35 year old farmer a new milliona...

A 35 year old farmer from Mpeketoni Lamu county has become the latest millionaire in town as she became winner in the ongoing ‘Shinda Mamili na Story Ibambe’. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Leave your past relationship bagg...

Leave your past relationship baggage at the door when you start a new relationship. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Advice from a young married Kenya...

I was just going to get water in the office kitchen and thought a simple hi was fine until I ended up in an hour long conversation with someone. Read more...

Submitted by
Shakila Alivitsa
Helping you find the type of man ...

To put it simply, you can’t go looking for fish in a meat market; you have to go to a fish market. Read more...