Will Discovery of Torture Trove Weaken Syria’s Hand at Geneva II?

Assad, Tomb of the Unknown Soldier

One shudders at the phrases “systematic” and “industrial-scale” killing used by the three lawyers who prepared a report on torture and killing of detainees by the Assad regime. (Yet another huge story broken by the Guardian.) A military policeman secretly working with a Syrian opposition group smuggled out 55,000 images of 11,000 bodies tortured and/or starved to death. It gets worse.

Many other photographers are attached to security units elsewhere in the country and are likely to have been asked to provide visual evidence of deaths.

Even just trying to imagine the suffering is unimaginable. One can only hope it will put Syria on the defensive at the upcoming Geneva II peace talks. It already bodes ill for Assad when Secretary of State John Kerry says, as he did yesterday:

“The right to lead a country does not come from torture. . . . The only thing standing in the way is the stubborn clinging to power of one man.”

Why were these pictures taken? As proof that detainees were tortured and killed. Just like the Nazis, Syria finds itself tripped up by a perceived need for recordkeeping.